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.