Notre Dame-USC rivalry through the years

What is your favorite moment ever from the Notre Dame-USC rivalry? @trojanswire

On paper there might not be a better rivalry in college football than how Notre Dame and USC are supposed to be.

Notre Dame is located in the midwest, home to brutal winters, and a lifestyle that could be described as just about anything other than glamorous.

USC on the other hand is about as extravagant as college football living gets in the city of Los Angeles, even if they’re no longer the only football show in town after the NFL made its return there (sorry UCLA).

The two have met for nearly the entire last century with epic battles, 14 Heisman Trophy winners, over 20 national championships, countless legends and Hall of Famers, and history as deep as the New York City phone book.

It’s been since the late seventies though that this rivalry has featured both teams competing for national championships on a regular basis.  Perhaps with new coaching hires at both this off-season, that narrative will soon change.

It’s often described as “the best intersectional rivalry in college football” but if both could get their business in order simultaneously like was the case in the seventies, it’d be the best rivalry in college football.

End sentence.

Related: Notre Dame-USC and the best of the worst

Notre Dame-USC: fun facts about epic rivalry

In the meantime, take a look back at some of the best photos of one of college football’s greatest rivalries through the years.

Notre Dame quarterbacks through the years

In the long history of Notre Dame football its difficult to come up with a favorite all-time quarterback.  Sure, the likes of [autotag]Paul Hornung[/autotag], [autotag]Joe Montana[/autotag], [autotag]Joe Theismann[/autotag], and [autotag]Brady Quinn[/autotag] all achieved great things in blue and gold but so many others reached great heights as well.

Then there were others that didn’t go on to get drafted into the NFL but led successful Notre Dame squads in their own right like [autotag]Kevin McDougal[/autotag], [autotag]Tony Rice[/autotag], and [autotag]Everett Golson[/autotag].

Who is your favorite quarterback in the history of Notre Dame football?

Who do you think was the best?

And who is your favorite one-hit-wonder?

Take a look back at just some of the Notre Dame starting quarterbacks over the last 70 years below.

College Football News ranks all-time programs

Which college football program really is the GOAT?

What college football program is the greatest of all-time?

Plenty of Notre Dame fans that visited Fighting Irish Wire assuredly just said “Notre Dame” to themselves while anyone reading from the south probably uttered a “Bama” or “Roll Tide”.

Pete Fiutak of College Football News recently went through all of the Associated Press polls of all-time (dating back to the 1930s) and used them as a guide to rank the top college football programs ever.

Neither Notre Dame or Alabama wound up ranked atop the list.  Nor did Ohio State or Michigan.  So who did?

Fiutak compiled the ratings for the best programs all-time by a very simple formula.  He took all of the AP final rankings and used a simple scoring system – the AP national champion in each season gets 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom.

Here is how the top 10 ended up:

Notre Dame great among 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

Will this be the year for a Notre Dame and 49ers legend?

Bryant Young was a force on the 1993 Notre Dame team that nearly won a national championship and carried on immediately in the NFL as he was a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers when they won their last Super Bowl in January of 1995.

Young finished his NFL career with 89.5 career sacks, the second most in 49ers history.  He was also voted to four Pro Bowls and was named the 1999 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after suffering a nasty knee injury the year before.

Now Young is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the second time.  Joining him on the list of finalists is another 49ers legend in linebacker Patrick Willis.

The official modern-era 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be revealed on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Notre Dame currently has 13 former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame which ties it with USC for the most ever by one college.

Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl History

The desert hasn’t been a friend to Notre Dame in recent years…or decades

Notre Dame is headed to the Fiesta Bowl to take on Oklahoma State this coming New Year’s Day.  It’ll be the first meeting all-time between the football programs as the Irish try and cap a top-five season with what would be their first major bowl victory since January of 1994.

Obviously the storylines write themselves as Marcus Freeman is set to make his head coaching debut after the whirlwind end of season that Notre Dame had.

Will Freeman and the Irish be victorious?

If so, it’d snap a major bowl losing streak as well as a Fiesta Bowl losing streak as the game hasn’t treated the Irish well since their first appearance in it.

Notre Dame’s Seven Heisman Trophy Winners

Who was Notre Dame’s best player to win the Heisman?

The Heisman Trophy has been handed out annually since Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago was awarded the first back in 1935.

Since then no school has had a player win the Heisman Trophy more than Notre Dame, who has seven all-time winners, although both Oklahoma and Ohio State have now caught the Irish total while USC would have had Reggie Bush’s Heisman not been taken away from 2005.

So who are the Fighting Irish legends that have won the award?

Here is a glimpse at the seasons all seven put up while wearing the blue and gold and striking the pose.

Notre Dame’s Seven Heisman Trophy Winners

Who was Notre Dame’s best player to win the Heisman?

The Heisman Trophy has been handed out annually since Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago was awarded the first back in 1935.

Since then no school has had a player win the Heisman Trophy more than Notre Dame, who has seven all-time winners, although both Oklahoma and Ohio State have now caught the Irish total while USC would have had Reggie Bush’s Heisman not been taken away from 2005.

So who are the Fighting Irish legends that have won the award?

Here is a glimpse at the seasons all seven put up while wearing the blue and gold and striking the pose.

Notre Dame Football: Ten Best Jump Ball Catches Ever

Notre Dame has been playing football a very long time and have had some incredible jump ball catches for touchdowns. See the top ten here!

Notre Dame’s advanced media team has been cranking out top ten lists all spring and summer long, helping us get at least some of the sports content we so desperately crave with so few live sports taking place.

They recently released the “Top Ten Jump Ball Catches” in Notre Dame football history, complete with highlights for all.  As always, let’s first watch the ten they chose before briefly discussing them on the next page (to avoid any spoilers).

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACcg9WCvcXo&w=560&h=315]

My thoughts…

88…scratch that, 95 (ish) Days Until Notre Dame Football Returns

Notre Dame football returns in 95 days. Or 96. We’re not fully sure but we do know the countdown went up, not down today. ’95 Notre Dame.

Happy Wednesday, folks.

A few days have passed by without updating the countdown but just to catch you up, we’re 88 days…scratch that…

94 or 95 days away from Notre Dame football returning.

Yeah I know, we started the countdown almost two weeks ago as we reached the 100 day mark and then the announcement came that Week Zero will instead be Week One and that Notre Dame and Navy will instead meetup on Labor Day weekend in Annapolis.

So with that in mind we go back to the future in a way and end up at 95 days.  If you missed 95 the first time around it was dedicated to Kyle Rudolph’s go-ahead touchdown against Michigan in 2010.

This time with 95 we will honor the 1995 Notre Dame team that went 9-3 after a stunning, season-opening loss to Northwestern, who would end up winning the Big Ten championship.

It started with the shocking defeat to a Northwestern squad who hadn’t won more than four games in a single season in 24 years previous.  As awful as things appeared to be headed Notre Dame bounced back with wins over Purdue and Vanderbilt before destroying No. 13 Texas, 55-27.

The season again hit a snag when Eddie George ran wild en-route to the Heisman Trophy as No. 7 Ohio State beat up the Irish 45-26.  Notre Dame would go on to win their final six regular season games which included a 38-10 win over No. 5 and eventual Rose Bowl Champion, USC.

Ron Powuls broke his arm against Navy in the second to final game of the year and No. 6 Notre Dame entered the Orange Bowl an 11 point underdog against No. 8 Florida State as leading rusher Randy Kinder was suspended for the game.  It was the third straight season Notre Dame and Florida State met with the teams splitting the first two games.

Despite that, backup quarterback Tom Krug used Derrick Mayes to his advantage and had the Irish leading 26-14 with just 11 minutes to play.  Danny Kanell led the Florida State comeback however as Andre Cooper snagged three scores for the Seminoles in their eventual 31-26 win.

Notre Dame finished the year 9-3 and ranked 11th in the final AP Poll in what was one heck of a roller coaster ride of a season.

An Upset of Michigan this week on Notre Dame’s Watch Party

Saturday night Notre Dame will feature Darius Walker’s coming out party that left a top ten Michigan team shocked after a stunning upset

This Saturday night will offer a chance to relive an unlikely incredible moment during an otherwise frustrating season.  This week’s edition of the “Notre Dame Watch Party” features the 2004 home opener, a win over top-ten Michigan.

After a season opening loss at BYU a week earlier, Notre Dame welcomed Michigan to Notre Dame Stadium to kickoff their home season.  Michigan was ranked eighth in the nation, the Big Ten favorite that fall and had national championship dreams.

Led by Justin Tuck and Cory Mays on defense, Notre Dame kept Michigan out of the end zone and to just nine first half points.  The Irish offense was non-existent though, putting up a goose egg themselves.

Brady Quinn found Matt Shelton for a 46 yard touchdown in the early moments of the third quarter and an interception and then blocked punt helped set up a couple more Notre Dame scores.

Freshman running back Darius Walker, who didn’t get on the field the week previous, ran for a game-high 115 yards and two touchdowns en-route to a 28-20 win for the Irish.

In what wound up being an incredibly frustrating season that saw Notre Dame again upset a top-ten team in November when they knocked off No. 9 Tennessee, the Irish went just 6-5 in the regular season and saw head coach Tyrone Willingham fired before their bowl game.

2004 was tough as a fan, I don’t think any single game left me more upset than the blowing of a 20-7 halftime lead against Boston College right after Notre Dame had worked their way back into the top 25.  Instead of being 6-2, the Irish fell to 5-3 and the wheels seemingly came off besides for that win to come over Tennessee.

If you’re looking for something to do Saturday night the replay of the 2004 win over Michigan will bring back a memories of a thrilling afternoon in an otherwise incredibly maddening year.