Oct 21, 2013, 12:25 AM EDT
Craig Chval, the official 2013 football beat writer for the Strong & True blog, is currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Over the course of the year Craig will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and previews of each game. You can follow Craig (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.
When I was a kid, I used to have a hand-me-down shirt from my dad detailing a certain portion of the Notre Dame-USC rivalry. It listed every score in the series from 1983 to 1995 – a stretch when the Irish went 12-0-1.
That was always one of my favorite shirts despite not having watched any of those games. Because from when I was 9 to when I was 16, Notre Dame never won a game against the Trojans, losing by an average of 24.5 points. The shirt was a reminder of a bygone era when my favorite team didn’t get obliterated by their greatest rival.
And although the Irish won in 2010 and 2012, I still had yet to witness a victory before this week. My first game came very, very close. I don’t think I ever emotionally recovered from that night. The scoreboard said 0:00 with the Irish up three, and somehow I walked out of Notre Dame Stadium with a loss.
After another close loss in 2009 and the “Crazy Train” game two years later, I still never got my win. I wasn’t asking for a 13-game unbeaten streak and a new T-shirt here. I just wanted a win.
If you read my blogs with any semblance of regularity, you know I’m not one to automatically cheer for an ugly win. And Saturday’s game was about as ugly as they come.
But this week I don’t care. There were parts of the game (defense) to be positive about and others (offense) to be concerned about. I almost always view Notre Dame football with a long-term perspective, but when USC comes to town, it’s just about those three hours.
Because this was my last USC game as a student. You only have the two, and Crazy Train doesn’t populate my favorite memories. When I remember this game, I’ll remember the defense, I’ll remember my last game against the Trojans in the student section. And I’ll remember the final score. When I get a new shirt detailing a new decade of dominance, the only thing from 2013 that will matter will be 14-10.
Up until last year, I always said 2005 USC was the best I ever saw Notre Dame play. It was a sardonic statement about some of the game I’d witnessed but also a testament to how epic that game was.
Saturday was far from the best game I’d seen in Notre Dame Stadium. But I felt a whole lot better walking out of Rock’s House than I did eight years ago. Winning, you know. It’s better than losing.
About Strong and True
ND Football on YouTube
- The third anniversary edition of #TrickShotMonday pays homage to the original and has a first-time winner. watchnd.tv/#!/videos/gxM3… 10 hours ago
- After @Will_Fuller7 didn’t get a first down, a @CoachBrianKelly pep talk helped him get two TDs. @NDfidm has video: WatchND.tv/#!/videos/NxaX… 14 hours ago
- This week is the 3rd anniversary of time-honored #TrickShotMonday's public debut. Take a look back at our best shots WatchND.tv/#!/videos/dqNH… 14 hours ago
- Nice pick for No. 1! RT @USATODAYcollege: The 10 best helmets in college football - usat.ly/1pCyFxb 16 hours ago
- If you haven't seen the @NDfidm ICON video of @THunterJr's first TD, you should. Teammates were so happy for him! ntrda.me/1u614SJ 19 hours ago
- General News. Current, Former Irish Teams to be Feted at Notre Dame-Stanford
- M. Soccer. #2 Notre Dame Set For First Encounter With VCU
- W. Tennis. Women's ITA All-American Championships Update
- M. Golf. Notre Dame Owns One-Shot Lead After First Round Of Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic
- Football. Brian Kelly Syracuse Review Teleconference Transcript
- M. Tennis. Fighting Irish Wrap Up Play At Two Tournaments
- W. Tennis. Irish Women's Tennis Closes Out Notre Dame Invitational
- W. Soccer. #20/16 Irish Score Early, Hold Off Wake Forest 1-0 In ACC Tilt
- W. Volleyball. Irish Battle Tough At No. 6 Florida State
- Football. IRISH EXTRA: Kelly, Irish Know They Must Be Better in October