Notre Dame's ability to master the details, and USC's inability to take care of the little things, is why the Irish are going to the national title game and the Trojans have a fifth loss.
After a slow start to his senior season, USC running back Curtis McNeal is thriving in an increased role, with Notre Dame on tap for McNeal's last game at the Coliseum.
While this year's version of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry has huge implications for the Irish, the Trojans are reduced to playing spoiler.
At the Coliseum on Saturday, USC fans will pay tribute to a senior class that has seen its share of ups and downs.
With less than three months before the opening of the 2012 season, WeAreSC takes a preliminary look at the Trojans' schedule.
Two days after the Trojans received a verbal commitment from running back Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), USC landed another tailback, as Justin Davis (Stockton, Calif./Lincoln) announced his commitment to the Trojans on Thursday.
While Notre Dame and UCLA are the traditional rivals for the Trojans, no team has given USC more problems than Oregon during the last 15 years.
Almost everyone, including Manti Te'o himself, thought the linebacker was destined to be a Trojan. But Te'o is leading the Notre Dame defense.
This week's Roundtable goes down memory lane, looking at the best victories for USC over Notre Dame.
After playing for USC against Notre Dame, Kennedy Polamalu, Joe Barry and Sammy Knight return to the rivalry as assistant coaches.
Curtis McNeal ready for a bigger role if Marc Tyler can't go; USC excited for first USC-Notre Dame night game in South Bend.