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What happens when a rogue USC writer decides to cover Notre Dame?

No one knows for sure, but our Mik Dietlin is determined to give it a try

Posted on September 11, 2020

  By Mik Dietlin, SuperWest Sports

My unconditional hatred for Notre Dame football began in a beach town 20 miles south of Los Angeles.

At an early age, my father taught me how to differentiate between conferences and regions as we soaked in the static action from the soon-to-be-discarded black-and-white RCA console.

Tinfoil hats protect the brain from aliens in the movie Signs. |

These were the days when conspiracy theorists warned of grotesque Heptopar Y16 aliens from the planet Cruton hacking TV antenna signals enabling them via subatomic particle decomposition to sift through the screen, sucking out the plasma through our eyeballs, replacing it with their own filthy plasma and turning us into their slaves.

A different brand of fear-mongers claimed the Soviets were doing the same thing. Funny how some things never change.

From The Trojan Alphabet Book

My dad, a very pragmatic man, wasn’t the type to leap from the couch in terror screaming, “We’re all doomed!” whenever he came across such fantastic media speculation before jetting for the car, peeling out of the driveway, and leaving his family behind in a futile attempt to save himself.

He raised us sensibly, to be fine upstanding young Trojans.

In exact accordance with the timeless wisdom our Founding Father’s bestowed, he stressed the importance of separating church and football. Church happened on Sunday. College football happened on Saturday, and never the twain shall meet.

His brother lived a few blocks away. He raised his family to be fine upstanding young Fighting Irish, thus establishing the oppressive living conditions any pre-Revolutionary War English King might find attractive.

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My aunt and uncle continually asserted that rooting for Notre Dame meant you were rooting for God. So, in defiance of all that is good, and willfully fostering a Hatfield vs. McCoy situation, they supported Domer Nation, under the delusion they had ingeniously devised a two-for-one idolatry system.

Their only son wouldn’t accept this tyranny, becoming a Trojan from the moment he was able to learn the Victory sign from my vengeful dad.

usc logoThey explained to anyone within earshot that his inexplicable allegiance to Cardinal and Gold was due to “His pediatrician accidentally dropping him on his head at birth.”

I knew the truth. Though just a kid, I had already had my fill of Notre Dame strangitude. I started referring to them as, “Notre Dumb,” a childish moniker I’ve outgrown and no longer use. Except for a few seconds ago.

This family drama played out innocently over time. We never burned effigies on each others lawns to intimidate and frighten the opposition into submission. We didn’t have to. More than an adequate level of pain clearly cemented itself in the faces of the losers for the victors to bask in.

The Notre Dame/USC rivalry goes back almost 100 years, fittingly fox trotting to life during the Roaring 20’s.

A 1920s speakeasy in New York City. | courtesy

For those Millennials unaware what the Roaring 20’s were, think what it would be like if your entire generation had their cell phones confiscated by the government, then smashed to smithereens on the streets right in front of you—but you had enough ingenuity to create secret underground havens where you could pay to use them.

Anyway, like the Roaring 20’s, the ND-USC show has never lacked power, spark, electricity, or anything else relating to voltage. Quite often it packed a boat load of national prominence. Even when one or both teams have experienced down years, it always pleases.

Courtesy Arcadia Publishing

No other intersectional rivalry has ever topped it, or ever will.

What I’m about to say may come as a shock to some. I’ve decided that since the Pac-12 in all probability won’t be playing games until January 2021, at the earliest, I’m going to cover Notre Dame for the 2020 season.

I won’t be writing standard post-game analysis (or drivel, if you prefer), though there will be some yakety-yak at times.

For the most part I’ll explore the lavish tradition of this ancient match-up, while taking full advantage of my platform here at to blare my disdain for the team I love to loathe—the Fighting Frickin’ Irish of Notre Dame.

This kind of bizarro-world move isn’t entirely without precedent.


Pat Haden was color commentator for Notre Dame football for 12 years; his own mother wanted him to go to Notre Dame. We all remember the travesty that was his stint as USC’s AD, though I’m sure just about everyone is trying to forget. So what I’m doing isn’t nearly as awful.

Let’s go down this path together. I don’t know how we’ll get to the end, but hopefully it’ll be in one piece.

And without a Notre Dame National Championship, though I doubt we’ll have to freak out over that.

How about it, Trojan fans? Are you up for some Leprechaun bashing?

—More from Mik Dietlin—