Notre Dame had appeared to sink to their lowest depths of the Charlie Weis era last week, in their come-from-ahead loss at home to 2-8 Syracuse. If the Irish could lose like that to an awful team, how would they fare against a top 5 team like the USC Trojans in Los Angeles? People were expected the worst from the latest USC-Notre Dame game, but they didn’t know the half of it.
The big humiliation is not that the Trojans won 38-3, it is that the Irish were even worse than the score indicates.
For the second straight season against USC, Notre Dame didn’t score a touchdown against the Trojans. But worse yet, they couldn’t even buy a first down. It took until the last play of the third quarter- that’s the THIRD quarter, mind you- for the Irish to get their first first down and get close to 50 yards of total offense for the entire game.
The final margin of yards gained in the game were 449 for USC, and 91 for Notre Dame.
It was hard to tell if the USC defense was that good, or the Irish offense that bad. With the tide turning so much against the Irish and Weis, most people will focus more on the ineptness of Notre Dame instead of the Trojan’s dominance.
The Trojans dominated their rival on a very good day for USC football. With Oregon State’s blowout loss to Oregon, USC’s loss to the Beavers in September will no longer cost them a Pac-10 title. Just one win over UCLA next week will put the Trojans back in the Rose Bowl, against Penn State.
The Trojans will still hope that the winner of the Big 12 South loses their conference title game to Missouri, and that Florida defeats Alabama in the SEC title game, to give the Trojans a slim shot for a BCS national championship game position.
Notre Dame has not needed to concern themselves with national championship talk for 15 years, however. Weis will be considered lucky to make it through one more game at this point.
Despite this latest embarrassment, the 6-6 Irish are still likely to be invited to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, though they have not won a bowl game in 15 years.
At this point, the only way Weis could stave off the screams of the alumni is to not lose the Sun Bowl by more than two touchdowns.
For the Trojans, their loss to the Beavers in the early season, and their dominance that has followed, has only made USC fans wonder more at what could have been. The Rose Bowl may have to be a consolation for a Trojans team that could have made the BCS endlessly more difficult this season.
Chicago Tribune- “Notre Dame not in USC’s league” www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/notredame/chi-30-notre-dame-uscnov30,0,7078240.story