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The Notre Dame–USC football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team of the University of Notre Dame and USC Trojans football team of the University of Southern California, customarily on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day when the game is played in Los Angeles or on the third Saturday of October when the game is played in South Bend.
Notre Dame and USC have traditionally been counted among the elite programs in college football, with the schools having won a combined 22 national championships and 14 Heisman Trophies. This football rivalry, which began in 1926, is considered one of the most important in college football, and is often called the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. The rivalry game has been played every year from 1926 to the present, with the exception of three seasons, 1943-1945, during the World War II years. Accordingly, it is one of the longest-running rivalries in college football.
Several times, the winner of this series has gone on to win or play for the college football national title. Both schools claim 11 national titles while the NCAA recognizes 13 Notre Dame championships and 9 USC championships. Moreover, both schools are acclaimed for their All-Americans (101 for Notre Dame and 80 for USC), College Football Hall of Famers (52 from Notre Dame and 35 from USC), and Pro Football Hall of Famers (13 from Notre Dame and 12 from USC). The rivals account for the highest numbers of players taken in the NFL Draft of any school; USC has had 502 players taken and Notre Dame has had 495. No rivalry in college football accounts for as many combined honors.
The teams play for the Jeweled Shillelagh, a trophy that goes home with the winning team each year. Despite many close games, the series has seen dominant runs by both side: USC went 12–2–2 from 1967 through 1982, Notre Dame went undefeated (11–0–1) from 1983 through 1995, and USC went undefeated (8–0) from 2002 through 2009. However, while Notre Dame and USC have defeated the other in landmark games enabling one of them to move onto a national title, the two teams have also played spoiler to each other several times.
The nation’s top intersectional rivalry owes a debt of gratitude to some unfriendly residents of Lincoln, Neb., and Bonnie Rockne’s love of warm California weather. At a time when traditional gridiron matchups are being torn asunder by the whirling conference kaleidoscope, Notre Dame and USC continue their annual hostilities, treating the nation to a classic matchup of iconic programs. The schools almost didn’t get together. But in 1925, after ND dropped a 17–0 decision at Nebraska, before an inhospitable crowd of Cornhusker fans, coach Knute Rockne and his wife were joined on the train back to Chicago by USC athletic director Gwynn Wilson and his wife, Marion. While Wilson tried to convince Rockne to ditch the burgeoning rivalry with Nebraska for an annual trip west, Marion Wilson and Bonnie Rockne became fast friends in another train compartment. Rockne resisted Wilson’s entreaties, but his wife was enthralled with the idea of Los Angeles in the late fall. She later convinced her husband to play the Trojans. The resulting rivalry has lasted 85 years and has filled the college football history books with dozens of classic tales. More Heisman winners have played in the Notre Dame-USC game than in any other rivalry, and many a national championship hope has been validated with a victory in the game. Though the teams alternate between their home sites, playing in late November in L.A. and mid-October in South Bend, the game retains a glamour that defines it and is a product of two of college football’s most storied programs.
Vintage Designs For Notre Dame vs USC
Vintage Brand offers the world’s largest selection of retro college apparel and unique sports gifts designed from historical works of art. Sports fans will be able to add fan gear and fan apparel to their personal collections that haven’t been available before. Vintage Brand features a wide selection of retro designs on fan gear for college and pro sports leagues, including NFL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA merchandise created from historical works of art in the public domain. Truly for the sports fan who wants to capture the biggest games, most epic moments, major championships, or college football rivalries, the vintage sports artwork will allow you to remember and share the unforgettable memories celebrating the rich history of American sporting culture.