2012 has been a memorable season, thus far, for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. For the first time in the school’s history, the Irish are ranked No. 1 in the BCS Standings. Also, this is the first time an NCAA football team has been ranked No. 1 in both the BCS and the graduation rate.
Notre Dame is four quarters away from competing for the National Championship in Miami. Notre Dame hasn’t been in that position since 1988 when it beat West Virginia to win its 11th national championship. In order for the Irish to continue their legendary, undefeated season and compete for a 12th national title, they must travel to the Coliseum and defeat arch rival, Southern Cal. This is a familiar situation for the Irish because Notre Dame was in the same predicament in 1964.
That year, Notre Dame, under first year head coach Ara Parseghian, was going into its last game undefeated. Again, the last game on the schedule was a road game against USC. In the AP polls, Notre Dame was ranked No. 1. However, Notre Dame lost the game 20-17 after giving up twenty unanswered points in the second half.
The 1964 Irish and the 2012 Irish have similar features. Both teams had an inexperienced quarterback (John Huarte and Everett Golson). Both teams had Heisman hopefuls on the team (Huarte and Manti Te’o). And both teams were underdogs throughout their entire seasons. The question arrives now; “Will history repeat itself, or will the Irish overcome the odds like they have been doing all season, and beat USC?”