It's time for this team to wake up the echoes. More rides on the outcome of this game than any game in my memory, and all we have to do is rise up as one, and knock USC off of their lofty perch.
This game is the stuff of legend. Notre Dame beating the Black Knights of Army on the banks of the Hudson behind the strong arm of Gus Dorais and the soft hands of a young Knute Rockne. The Four Horsemen. The Irish walking into the Rose Bowl and beating Pop Warner's Stanford team. Win one for the Gipper. The 1945 tie of the vaunted black Knights of Army. Breaking Oklahoma's winning streak in 1952. Michigan State "Game of the Century" in '66. The Chicken Soup Game. The Trojan Horse game. Catholics vs. Convicts. '93 Florida State. 2005 USC.
This is the time for Notre Dame to rise again.
We have been through prugatory, and suffered through some of the darkest times in Notre Dame history. The greatest game in the last 25 years was arguably a loss to USC. It is time for this team to take its place back at the top of college football.
This is our greatest rival. Our arch enemy. Southern Cal is a team that once had a proud tradition, but has soiled its reputation by hiring Pete Carroll. The media wants to exalt him as a hero, but he is truly a villain. Growing evidence shows that USC has engaged in behavior that very likely could lead to NCAA sanctions. They willingly have associated themselves with a known pimp, drug dealer, and possibly murderer in Snoop Dogg, and indeed have asked him to actively recruit players to Southern Cal.
Where USC may have at one time been worthy of our respect, they are no longer. They have gone to the dark side, and are now truly our antithesis.
Through all of the pain and torment, Notre Dame still holds true to its basic ideals. We do it the right way. Our players are full members of the Notre Dame community. They go to class. They graduate. Often with honors. We recruit our players by the book. And further, we hold our players to a higher standard of behavior. Criminality and immorality will not be tolerated.
Yet still we rise.
This game may not have the glitz and glamour and hype of some of the classic #1 v. #2 matchups in the past. It may not even be the biggest game of the week. Gameday will be down at the Red River Shootout.
But this game represents a pivotal moment in Notre Dame history.
Win, and the critics are silenced. The Irish take their rightful place in the polls, and earn the right to be in the National Title Conversation at the end of the season. Clausen will take his place as the leading Heisman trophy candidate. Weis will keep his job. And, undoubtedly multiple players visiting this weekend will feel the Notre Dame Spirit and choose to suit up for Notre Dame.
We will be BACK.
Lose, and the Irish fade back into mediocrity once again. Clausen's Heisman hopes are dashed. Weis' job security becomes tenuous at best. The critics grow louder, to almost a fever pitch. And, although we now have the talent to compete, we will probably start anew with a different coach and another hope that the new savior will help us Return to Glory.
But we will not lose. We cannot.
We are Notre Dame.
Rise and Strike.
Rally sons of Notre Dame,
Sing her glory, and sound her fame
Raise her Gold and Blue,
And cheer with voices true,
Rah! Rah! For Notre Dame.
We will fight in every game
Strong of heart and true to her name.
We will ne'er forget her
And we'll cheer her ever,
Loyal to Notre Dame.
Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send the volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky,
What tho' the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to Victory!