Coppock on Sports

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Clausen, Notre Dame will keep pace with USC

Chet Coppock

Legitimate Chicago broadcast legend and the pioneer of sports talk radio. Also teaches courses in humility.

Please don't mention this to Touchdown Jesus. For gosh sakes, don't breathe a word of this if you're within 200 yards of the Rockne Monument.
Saturday in South Bend, Notre Dame, a school that's turned out a mere seven Heisman Trophy winners, 79 consensus All Americans, 43 Hall of Famers and a school endowment big enough to purchase the National Hockey League team of your choice will face arch-rival USC beneath the Golden Dome.
For those who do, the Irish are listed as 10-point dogs - down from 11. Notre Dame, a ten point dog at home? That isn't the kind of number that inspired Hollywood to create "Rudy." But the fact is, USC has so much darn talent, I'd be inclined to make them seven point favorites over the St. Louis Rams.
You don't think the USC cupboard is on overload? The Trojans sent four linebackers to the NFL last year. That means they had to come up with four new starting 'backers this year. How much has this hurt USC? As near as I can tell, they haven't missed a beat.
The raw numbers are kind of frightening from an ND perspective. I could make leprechauns blink for hours but lets just leave it at this. USC has licked the Irish the past two years by a combined score of 76 to 3, so help me Paul Hornung.
Some of you know Paul as an ND Heisman Trophy recipient or as a superb running back for Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. Still others may recall his yeoman work hustling Miller Lite. Then again, chances are if you're under 37, you may have to google the name Paul Hornung.
So, where am I going with all this? Damn good question.
Cue Charlie Weis, the semi-beleaguered head coach at ND, and tell Jimmy Clausen, his blond haired quarterback, that I've done a rewrite on Saturday's proposed script...a script that would strongly suggest that the Irish run to the team bus after the coin toss.
Here's the drill. We're going to play upset. Notre Dame, and this is just a proposed pilot, beats USC on Saturday and Clausen lights the sky. He just gives NBC TV viewers a barnburner of a show.
What happens? Weis is finally off the hook for at least two weeks. He finally after four plus years in South Bend lands his first so-called "signature" victory. To date, the best Charlie can do when it come to signatures is a three-point "signature" loss to, you got it, USC back in 2005.
Frankly, if Weis knocks off Pete Carroll and USC I wouldn't be surprised if Charlie broke cried. God knows I would. But I cried watching Godfather lll.
Where does James Richard Clausen fit in our scenario? Jimmy, the pride and joy of Thousand Oaks, California has begun to attract major Heisman Trophy attention. Clausen will begin play versus the Trojans off come back victories over Purdue and Washington. Hey, I know the Boilermakers and Huskies aren't Urban Meyer and Florida but I also know Heisman Trophy winners will find a 5-star ND quarterback absolutely irresistible when they begin filling out ballots.
So, if Clausen throws for 337 yards with four touchdown passes he doesn't put a hammerlock on the Heisman, but he would almost certainly become the "leader in the clubhouse." Keep in mind, one major website last week had him as the consensus favorite to win college football's most prestigious individual honor.
So much for our pageant. We now present the live version of Notre Dame versus USC. Final: Trojans 37-ND 31. Charlie remains on "signature" hold while Clausen in defeat will make legitimate strides toward the Heisman.
The play: take ND with the points and bet the over. You heard it here first.



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1 Comment

Orestes said:

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Chester, almost had me there. There WILL be magic in the House that Rock built once again, come Saturday.

We'll accept your apology and your eloquent prose on Sunday ! Who knows, you may be the next Grantland Rice ?

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