Last season Notre Dame and USC seemed destined to prove the analysts wrong. The Trojans opened the season ranked number 1 in the nation, but their season turned into a disaster when they were blown out by cross town rival UCLA and Matt Barkley suffered a season ending shoulder injury. The Irish on the other hand started the season unranked with most college football experts predicting an 8-4 season. Notre Dame proved everyone wrong as they grinded out an undefeated season, and for irony’s sake, the Irish clinched their bid to the national championship with a victory against the Barkely-less Trojans.
Thus far in 2013 USC has continued to underperform. After two blowout losses to UCLA and Arizona State, AD Pat Haden (and former Notre Dame NBC announcer) had seen enough. Haden fired Lane Kiffin when he attempted to board the team’s bus after the loss to Arizona State, a fitting end for a coach who has a knack for rubbing people the wrong way.
For the time being, Haden has replaced Kiffin with Ed Orgeron, the former defensive line coach and head recruiter for Kiffin. The easygoing Orgeron has already transformed USC’s atmosphere. CBS Los Angeles wrote: “It feels like a whole new team,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “It feels like we’re coming into a new season. Coach O is trying to make sure everybody is having as much fun as possible.” Orgeron has also set about repairing some of the damage left by Kiffin on the recruiting trail where rumors swirled of negative recruiting and broken promises.
Even with the firing of Kiffin, questions still remain. Can USC’s young quarterbacks finally come into their own? Who will be the next head coach? Will Ed Orgeron right the ship enough to lead the Trojans to a worthy bowl game? After a convincing victory against Arizona this past weekend, it seems as if Orgeron is off to the right start, but can the team continue that type of production against Notre Dame?