Mike Tirico, in the Notre Dame Stadium press box before a game against Georgia last Sept. 9. (Photo by: Jeff Schear/NBC Sports Group)
Mike Tirico decided to go online Tuesday to do some research on the USC-Notre Dame college football rivalry history — particularly to recheck his memory about the 2005 “Bush Push” game at South Bend, eventually finding the NBC broadcast with Tom Hammond and Pat Haden on the call.
“I’m just looking for a little detail,” said Tirico. “I ended up getting sucked into watching at least an hour of that game — the first drive, parts of the middle, the comeback, the last drive. I was on a tight schedule this week and that really ended up throwing me off.
“Before I knew it, I was looking back at that No. 1 vs. No. 2 match up in 1988, with Keith Jackson and Bob Griese on the call.”
Tirico’s voice started rising on the other end of the phone as he got more into it.
“But that’s the joy of this rivalry, going back to Rockne, the Notre Dame dominance, McKay, then the Pete Carroll era. The rivalry brings up so many different memories for people who’ve been watching college football for 10 years or 50 years. Something that happens (this Saturday) could be what people are talking about 10 years from now.”
This will be the first USC-Notre Dame broadcast for Tirico, who joined NBC from ESPN/ABC two years ago, specifically for the opportunity to do different big-time events like this, including the Olympics, golf, horse racing and Thursday Night NFL games as well as host the Sunday Night Football studio shows.
With Doug Flutie at his side, Tirico made the drive from his home in Ann Arbor, Mich., to South Bend, Ind., to do three Notre Dame games last season and the plan is for him to do six of the seven home games this season, missing one so he could be at the President’s Cup golf event recently.
He said the trick to doing what he calls “legacy games” is to sprinkle in the history around the body of the game, but keep in mind “you want people paying attention to this game, right now. You don’t want to be (in a clip of another game) and come back too late and miss a snap — because any snap in this game could be that long-last moment for decades to come. You don’t mess up the future by talking about the past. It’s realizing you have to stay in the present.”
If you still have these shirts, and you’re making the trip, you may as well wear them, eh?
== USC at Notre Dame, Saturday at 4:42 p.m., Channel 4 (Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie, Kathryn Tappen)
== UCLA vs. Oregon: Saturday at 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron, Lewis Johnson)
== Arizona State at Utah, 12:30 p.m., FS1 (Justin Kutcher, Petros Papadakis, Tom Helfrich)
== Arizona at Cal, Saturday at 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Ted Robinson, Yogi Roth, Jill Savage)
== Colorado at Washington State, Saturday at 7:45 p.m., ESPN (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boman)
Bye weeks: Washington, which faces UCLA on Oct. 28, and Stanford
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