I hate Southern Cal.
I'm pretty sure it's in my genetic code.
My dad hates Southern Cal. We have that in common. We also have this in common: Notre Dame never beat Southern Cal while we were students there. 1979, 1980, 1981 (Dad, law school). 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 (Me, undergrad). All losses.
My dad told me while I was applying for colleges that I could go anywhere I wanted. But he told me if I wanted to go to Southern Cal or Miami that I would have fun paying for it. He took his hate seriously.
I wouldn't have gone there if you paid me.
During fall semester 2005, I was studying abroad on a program called Semester Around the World. I flew out to Los Angeles a few days before the trip began to visit a Los Angeles-native friend who had transferred from Notre Dame after one semester to USC. We had a great time eating burgers and walking on Venice Beach. I had a not-so-great time at the Pike House where no one would even look at me, much less talk to me. I had the worst time when my friend insisted on taking me to the USC practice field and I had to get in by showing my Notre Dame student ID. The band played "Tribute to Troy." It was nightmare fuel. Pete Carroll's stupid, cheating face is just as stupid and cheating in person. Heritage Hall is terrible. It was all terrible. I flew from LAX to Tokyo and put it out of my mind.
2005 doesn't seem all that long ago, but there was almost no way to watch or listen to any games online. I had packed in my backpack a shortwave radio, thinking that trying to find an Armed Forces Radio station was my best bet to listen to any ND games live. It didn't work. We fiddled with that thing for hours. I posted a couple comments on Blue Gray Sky asking people for advice. We were in Asia but as far as football was concerned, it was the dark side of the moon. Meanwhile, Notre Dame racked up wins during Charlie Weis's first season as head coach.
Hate week doesn't go away when you're in India.
We had a plan. The first floor of the apartment hotel where we were living had a small room with one computer that had decent internet access. We would pool some funds, reserve the computer, and watch the ESPN Gamecast. One tiny screen, refreshing over and over, all night long. The game started around 1 AM, India time.
Hours later, Notre Dame scores the go-ahead touchdown with a couple minutes left. Refresh. Leinart drives the ball downfield. Refresh. Huge completion to Dwayne Jarrett. (OhhhhfuckfuckfuckfuckcomeonIRISH) Refresh. Fumble out of bounds. 0:00 on the clock. Notre Dame wins! Holy shit! Screaming and yelling and crying!
Screen refreshes. Seven fucking seconds back on the clock. Southern Cal with the ball on the two.
Screen refreshes. Leinart, touchdown. Southern Cal wins.
It was 5:00 AM.
It may have been horrible in person. It may have been horrible on television. But I hadn't slept in almost 24 hours and stayed up all night watching a little screen flicker dimly, halfway around the world, without a beer in my hand or a hamburger within five thousand miles. We thought we won. We thought we won. The clock said zero. Then the screen refreshed.
Fuck Southern Cal, forever and ever. Fuck Pete Carroll and his cheating, smarmy face. Fuck Carson Palmer, Matt "Osama bin" Leinart, John David Booty, Mark Sanchez, Dwayne Jarrett, LenDale White, and most especially, fuck Reggie Bush. Fuck their stupid half-assed NCAA penalties. Fuck Lane Kiffin.
OH AND Fuck their band and "Tribute to Troy" and that stupid horse. I will never stop calling them "Southern Cal" because they specifically requested to not be called that because it sounded diminutive. Fuck you, Southern Cal, forever and ever, amen.