Tradition Lives On

NCAA History

By Guest Writer Doug Ammon:


Those who closely follow college football know its history.  The match-ups that we see each season are typically consistent, and have moments that live in a football folklore.  College football as we know is in a state of major change though.  Conferences are being realigned, and schools are no longer playing the games we have grown to cherish each year.  With all this change tradition seems to be taking the biggest hit when it comes to the sport.

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Some schools are sticking to the rivalries that every college football fan knows and loves.  The USC vs. Notre Dame match-up has been extended through the 2023 season.  This is encouraging news to the college football world because of how much the sport has been reshaped over the past few months.

The USC vs. Notre Dame game was first played in 1926, and many say started with a conversation between the wives of the head coach of Notre Dame and the Athletic director of USC at the time.  USC was looking for a big time national rival and figured Notre Dame would be the perfect fit.  The AD of USC dispatched his wife to a Notre Dame vs. Nebraska football game, which was Notre Dame’s big rival at the time. The USC wife was able to lure Notre Dame into the rivalry with the promise of a trip to sunny California every other year rather than the monotony of a frigid trip to Nebraska each year.

The game has existed ever since, and has provided the college football world with many memories over the years.  It is a rivalry that all can appreciate and follow because the teams are nationally known, and come from such different parts of the country.  The flashiness of southern California against the homegrown toughness of Middle America, what’s not to love?

Rivalry games like USC-Notre Dame are what draw many fans into the sport to begin with.  If you do not attend a college football powerhouse but instead are simply an avid watcher you need games to look forward that you know will provide entertainment.  Rivalry games do this exactly.  The teams have a chronicled past, and because of this all the players know what is at stake.  When you play in a game like this you not only are representing your school your representing all that have worn the jersey before you.

These rivalry games also provide a reason to play your hardest.  While most college football seasons are “finished” after one loss, a big time rivalry game gives you the motivation to go all out.  Players know that hopes of a national championship may be done but a successful season can still be had if they beat their rival.  This causes rivalry games to take on more meaning, and in turn have a better quality of football played.

College football needs to hang on to the traditions that got the sport to where it is today.  Rivalry games are the foundation of the sport, and are sure to provide the drama that every football fan craves.  Seeing a new crop of players dive head first into a game that has been played for years is an amazing sight.  It makes the athlete and observer feel like a part of something bigger, and gives both parties memories they can treasure for the rest of their lives.  Playing a role a part of history is a feeling only these games can provide.



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