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USC vs. Notre Dame: What the fans have to say about the rivalry

Notre Dame’s Braxston Cave (52) prepares to snap the ball against USC during the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 17, 2009 in South Bend, Ind.
Notre Dame’s Braxston Cave (52) prepares to snap the ball against USC during the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 17, 2009, in South Bend, Ind. The 91st meeting between the Trojans and Fighting Irish takes place Saturday.
(Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

The USC-Notre Dame rivalry is considered the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. Both schools have a combined 22 national championships claimed and 13 Heisman Trophy winners. The rivalry began in 1926 and the matchup has occurred every year, except between 1943 and 1945 due to World War II. It is one of the longest-running rivalries in college football with the 91st meeting taking place Saturday in South Bend, Ind.

USC and Notre Dame fans, alums, students and college football fans from all over will watch the Trojans and Fighting Irish duke it out on the football field. However, the rivalry means more than just a football game for individuals tied to the schools, and who just love watching a good rivalry on the football field.

Gary Adamson, 67, La Jolla, Notre Dame graduate

Notre Dame alum Gary Adamson at a Notre Dame football game.
Notre Dame alum Gary Adamson at a Notre Dame football game.
(Courtesy of Gary Adamson)
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It’s Auburn-Alabama, but 40 stories up in class and respect. Can it be called a rivalry when one school wins all the time? The Song Girls are undefeated, the old oaken bucket, Paul Bunyan’s ax. Really? Give me the Jeweled Shillelagh anytime. Glad you get a lot better education at ND and it costs a lot less to buy your way in, that’s real value. South Bend vs. Hollywood, only one has a candidate for president. Great bands, great fight songs. Fortunately, ND’s has more than five notes. Traveler can’t do a Victory Clog.

Kristen Hernandez, 27, Washington, D.C., USC graduate

Kristen Hernandez, 27, at her USC graduation in 2014.
Kristen Hernandez, 27, at her USC graduation in 2014.
(Courtesy of Kristen Hernandez)

I’m a USC alum and my ex-boyfriend who recently dumped me went to Notre Dame. Our relationship started when we playfully talked trash to each other on a dating app before the game four years ago. I’d really love to see USC kick Notre Dame’s butt this year.

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Makayla Vasquez, 21, Alexandria, Va., Notre Dame graduate

Makayla.jpg
Notre Dame graduate Makayla Vasquez, 21, at the 2018 Cotton Bowl Classic.
(Courtesy of Makayla Vasquez.)

As an ND graduate from Southern California, I know the two schools don’t compare. It’s almost as though USC fans need to win this game just to put themselves in conversation with a high-caliber school like ND. There’s nothing like going home to California after a win, wearing ND gear, and knowing that USC really can’t compete where they don’t even compare.

Roy Nwaisser a.k.a. “USC Psycho,” Los Angeles, USC graduate

Roy Nwaisser, a.k.a. “USC Psycho,” at the USC-Washington game in Seattle. Nwaisser is a USC graduate and has attended every home and away USC football game since his senior year.
Roy Nwaisser, a.k.a. “USC Psycho,” at the USC-Washington game in Seattle. Nwaisser is a USC graduate and has attended every home and away USC football game since his senior year.
(Courtesy of Roy Nwaisser)

USC has two rivalries, UCLA and ND. One is a rivalry by default because we’re in the same city but they’re like the annoying little brother you can pretty easily rough up. ND is a truer rivalry because they’re better and the team we have respect for.

Chris Zeches, 34, Phoenix, Notre Dame graduate, with son Francis, 3, future ND graduate

Chris Zeches, 34, with son Francis, 3. Zeches is a Notre Dame graduate living in Phoenix.
Chris Zeches, 34, with son Francis, 3. Zeches is a Notre Dame graduate living in Phoenix.
(Courtesy of Chris Zeches.)
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Traditions for old and young; past, present and future generations!!!!!! Go Irish!!!

Vince Skolny, Los Angeles, USC fan

USC fan Vince Skolny, left, at a USC football game.
USC fan Vince Skolny, left, at a USC football game.
(Courtesy of Vince Skolny)

It is the earliest rivalry I ever remember watching as a child in West Virginia, even before I had a favorite college team of my own, and rooting on the Trojans, which is how USC became my favorite ‘helmet team.’

Julianna Conley, 19, Notre Dame sophomore

Notre Dame sophomore Julianna Conley, 19, left, with USC graduate student Diana Kutulos at the USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum on Nov. 24, 2018.
Notre Dame sophomore Julianna Conley, 19, left, with USC graduate student Diana Kutulos at the USC-Notre Dame game at the Coliseum on Nov. 24, 2018.
(Courtesy of Julianna Conley)

I was actually really surprised when I heard about the rivalry after coming to Notre Dame. I’m from Southern California and come from a big USC family (my mom, cousins, and uncle all went to USC — my great-uncle was a kicker for USC and one of my cousins is a professor there now), so I was confused when Notre Dame students kept talking about a USC rivalry. Growing up, I was taught to hate UCLA, not Notre Dame. Even my mom said she didn’t understand why Notre Dame kept bringing up USC. ‘We don’t hate them. We don’t care about Notre Dame. We just hate the Bruins.’ My uncle Sam Tsagalakis, the aforementioned kicker, always organized a joint lunch between Notre Dame and USC when the teams played each other. There was never any bad blood. When my uncle had a really bad stroke a few years back, Notre Dame reached out to my family and told us that they were praying for him. That kindness was actually a huge reason why I grew to love Notre Dame and its mission so much. In short, the rivalry means essentially nothing to me. I feel like it’s pretty one-sided.

From fans, alums, and students on Twitter:

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Notre Dame senior Holden Perrelli comments on the USC-ND rivalry on Twitter.
Notre Dame senior Holden Perrelli comments on the USC-ND rivalry on Twitter.
(Eduardo Gonzalez / Los Angeles Times)
Colorado fan Matt Toepfer, from Longmont, Colo. comments on the USC-ND rivalry.
Colorado fan Matt Toepfer, from Longmont, Colo. comments on the USC-ND rivalry.
(Eduardo Gonzalez / Los Angeles Times)


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