Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Saturday, November 25

Perceptions Before THE Game

USC students don’t discriminate here 90 minutes before the kickoff that could determine the national championship. They boo Notre Dame players as they warm up on the Los Angeles Coliseum field. They boo the coaches. They boo the five unfortunate Irish fans who have seats in the middle of their section.

Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija gets extra attention.

“Stay with baseball!” they chanted.

Samardzija, of course, ignored them.

The students, and many adults, were equally boisterous when the Notre Dame team arrived at the Coliseum two hours before kickoff. The band played the USC fight song while fans sang it to the Irish.

They, too, ignored it.

That I was able to see all this is a relief. Earlier in the afternoon, I had taken a wrong turn on the way to the Coliseum. This put me in an area that, to be politically correct, was unnerving. Think Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation asking for directions and you’ll get the idea.

Tapping into my male roots, I didn’t ask for directions. And I did make it.

I also got to check out the USC campus, which is very, very nice. It’s just north of the Coliseum, which is situated in a park that includes a rose garden and a science museum.

Because it’s sunny and warm, you have fans in shorts, fans in tank tops, fans in the kind of attire you’d see on a beach. It’s supposed to cool off by halftime, so they might need a change of clothes.

That, of course, is of no consequences for this game. USC pushes its national title game prospects with the motto, “Leave No Doubt,” as in whip the Irish to all but clinch a shot at No. 1 Ohio State.

Notre Dame, of course, has other ideas. Brace yourself. It should be very interesting.


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