Tradition Matters: Why Notre Dame Loss Means More

The Notre Dame-USC rivalry is so rich and historical that you cannot underestimate the importance of these games. USC had not lost in South Bend since 2001. That is the type of mark other schools only dream about when it comes to playing Notre Dame.
USC had also defeated the Irish eight straight years during the Pete Carroll era. That is why the losses in 2010 and last weekend were simply inexcusable. In 2010, Lane Kiffin went ultra-conservative because he did not trust Mitch Mustain, which turned out to be a poor decision.

And last weekend, we saw two stunningly poor decisions ruin the Trojans’ chances of winning a game they should have easily walked away with after Tommy Rees got hurt. The Wildcat formation with little-used Javorius Allen was completely perplexing. Why telegraph a run? Why not use Silas Redd? Why use a shotgun snap from the 1?
And then there was the decision to kick a 46-yard FG when it was fourth-and five from the 29. USC’s offense was not making much headway especially with all its penalties. More troubling, I think the attitude post-Kiffin should be to go for it. There isn’t much to lose so play loose and aggressive.
The loss now gives Notre Dame a firm grasp of the rivalry with three wins in the past four meetings. That matters. There is too much history in Notre Dame Stadium to just toss away chances to win there.

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  • Gordon Allen

    good point about the attitude should be to go for it

  • Booyakasha

    This attitude thing is overrated. We haven’t played consistently well on O ever since Matt Kalil left. The D and O take turns in reaching sordidly pathetic levels of ineptitude. We just have ordinary players and ineffective coaching. Each member on the team seems to look to another to make key plays instead of doing it themselves. Pete was great not because of his attitude, but because he was a great reader of talent and coach.
    All the pundits scoffed when he was picked as the HC of the Seahawks saying his attitude wouldn’t translate well in the pro dressing room. Well guess what, he still has the same attitude but the Seahawks players are being coached by a terrific coaching staff. So they are taking names and whupping butt. Harbaugh’s teams look clueless when playing the Seahawks. That’s not because of attitude, it’s because of a superior game plan and players who can execute on the field. As of now, USC has neither the game plan nor the coaching.

    • jetman624

      +1 on Matt Kalil. The o-line has not been the same since he left…

      • Independent_George

        The teams has not been the same since Carroll’s recruits left.

        Yes, the talent fell off in the later years, due to the treat of sanctions and the hubris of Brennan running recruting from a Manhattan Beach restaurant (or so numerous people claim), but Carroll coached the kids up and got them to believe in themselves.

        Not so much with Lane’ kids.

        • Stu Azole

          Ah yes, the glorious days of Pick 6 Barfly come rushing back. Who could forget his amazing comeback wins against…Er. Well, there were those recent great bowl wins with Pete’s final recruits….Er. I mean, Pete’s recruits handled Harbaugh well anyway…Er. At least it wasn’t Pete’s last recruits that allowed UCLA to curb stomp sc last year only to end the season with a locker room brawl. Haha!

          • TrojanFamily

            A 10 point win is a curb stomp? What is a 50 point shutout win? I don’t think there is an appropriate phrase for it. We’ll just call it “bruining” the other guy’s season.

          • gotroy22

            What the ruin Anthony Barr did to our quarterback Matt Barkley was a stomping. He still isn’t right.

        • gotroy22

          You are right, Spaulding did more to hurt us than anyone.

    • Fred Sampson

      Saddleback College had two offensive lineman that were JC All Americans and Lane Kiffin did not want to recruit either one of them two years ago. Well one of them was Howie Long’s son Kyle who was the #1 draft choice of the Chicago Bears out of Oregon and the other was Menelick Watson out of Florida St. taken by the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round. So yes Kiffin has no clue when it comes to evaluating Talent in the trenches and that’s usually how you dominate games.

  • CardinalnGold

    Play calling didn’t cost them this game Wolfie. Poor execution from the O-Line, stupid penalties from the O-Line and untimely drops from the WRs/TEs cost them the game.


      Clay Helton calling runs to the left (strength of ND’s d-line) didn’t help anything.

      • steveg

        Totally agree. Time after time they run left.

        • Cheap seats

          Let’s see…run to Walker / Graff’s side? Or Tuerk / Wheeler’s side?

          Neither sounds appealing! Maybe they thought their D linemen were weak at the point of attack?

          • steveg

            refer to fightontovictory above.

    • steveg

      If Lee makes a catch, we won the game.

      • gotroy22

        Yes right in his hands. Inexcuseable.

  • okay, okay wolfman, you made your point!!

    this was a HUGE kick to the trOXans’ crotch!!!

    get ready for a lotta mo’, trOXans!!!! we gotta lotta mo’!!!!

    you shouldda NEVER come back!!!!

    • steveg

      Hope you keep up the over confidence. May be a big let down on the horizon.

      • gotroy22

        We are good enough to beat the ruins but bad enough to lose to WSU. Weird season.

    • TrojanFamily

      Be a man. If you cant hit a guy in the nose, then crawl back in your hole. Kicking a man in a crotch is the weak person’s way to win a fight.

      Or do you just get your metaphor consistently wrong. Kicking a man in a crotch is unfair and dirty. It’s what the metaphor means. So are you saying Wolf was playing dirty and unfair with this qpost (and every time you celebrate a Wolf criticism of USC?) If so, maybe you are a bigger supporter (what your pseudo poster-of-color ThaiMex refers to as a “rah rah”) than anyone else on here.

      Or maybe, its subliminal. You just inherently, intuitively know your attacks on USC are unfair. Or subliminally, you want to be a part of the Trojan Family. I wouldn’t pretend to know what goes on in your psyche.

      So which is it? Are you secretly a “rah rah,” secretly realize that Wolf is often dirty and unfair in his criticisms, or do you just not understand the metaphor?

      • uh, easy, Touchy Touchinheimer, those crotch kicks references are for the most part fugurative. but if i ever run into any of you Dummies at a game….lets just say i would wear a cup if i were you.

        in NUBS’ case, a tampon will do.

        • Joe Blow

          Your wife sure likes to smoke those “tampons”.

  • Arturo

    Ghosts of last year’s two- come-up empty- trips to the red zone against that D line may have influenced the wildcat decision. If Allen scores, Helton/Orgeron look genius, but he didn’t so they don’t. Monday Morning QBing.

    • gotroy22

      The Wildcat was a dumb call, they could have just done a quarterback sneak and it would have been more effective.

  • trojandude207

    When the guards and tackles learn to block instead of doing the defense’s job (tackling aka holding) maybe we can return to USC football. The past few years it has been more like U missed me football. Maybe someone needs to ask these behemoths when was the last time a pro lineman got by consistently watching his assignment blow by him?

  • john wolcott


    SC and ND are having forgettable seasons, and this game will not be remembered two days after next Saturday.

    The games that are remembered were important to national championships and that is why they are remembered: 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1988, and 2004

  • TrojanFamily

    I agree the loss is a bad one because losing to Notre Dame, especially when they are the inferior team and playing terribly, is always tough to take. The real reason this loss is so tough is not because of tradition. It’s because USC lost a winnable–Ill even go so far and say what should have been an easily winnable–game.

    But while some of the decisions are questionable, the real issue was not with coaching. it was with performance. The O-Line lost this game. 7 penalties, an inability to block Notre Dame’s rather pedestrian D-line, and the number of times the RBs just seemed to run into the line was the real culprit.

    This was the biggest difference between the successful 2011 and the unsuccessful 2012. I hope USC focuses heavily on the O-Line in recruiting. I don’t think the team really has recovered from losing Pat Ruel (although 2011 was a good year, the further the team gets from him and his coaching, the worse the line seems to be).

    • gotroy22

      Yes ND gave us that final chance to win and be botched it. The game was ours for the taking.

  • Joe Blow

    Real Simple: ND is a national program and pretty much in the national picture for the championship. fucla is just another college in L.A.