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2017 WeAreSC Travel Guide: Game Eight – At Notre Dame (Notre Dame Weekender)

No. 11 USC TROJANS (6-1, 4-1 PAC-12) / No. 13 NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (5-1)

OCT. 21: 4:30 p.m. PT/ 7:30 p.m. ET
Televised: NBC
Location: South Bend, Ind.
Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium
Capacity: 80,795
Surface: Field Turf
Seating Chart: http://stadium.nd.edu/facts-and-stats/seating/
Tickets: Sold out

The opening line: Notre Dame is a 4-point favorite over the Trojans.

Clock reminder: Chicago is on Central Time and South Bend is on Eastern Time. South Bend is one hour ahead of Chicago. Still confused? For example, when its 6:30 p.m. in Chicago, it will be 7:30 p.m. in South Bend.

Projected Saturday South Bend Weather Forecast: Partly cloudy with a high of 72, low of 56, 64 percent humidity, and 0 percent precipitation.

Websites: und.com / usctrojans.com


By car from Chicago: The ride through Chicago and northern Indiana on the Indiana Toll Road generally takes 1½ hours…IF there is no road construction. Give yourself a two-hour window coming from Chicago. By the way, after the game is over, it could take up to three hours to get back to Chicago by car. And be prepared for the large number of fee charges along the way on the toll roads. It’s a pretty drive for the most part in the daytime but pretty dark at night.  After the game, if you know what it’s like to leave the Rose Bowl after a game, this is even worse. Don’t say you weren’t forewarned.

From O’Hare/Chicago: Take I-190 east out of the airport, merge onto I-90 east (the Kennedy Expressway) toward downtown Chicago and merge with I-94 south (the Dan Ryan Expressway). Take the Skyway exit off the Dan Ryan and remain on I-90 to the Indiana Toll Road, which merges with I-80. From the Illinois border, it is about 75 miles to Exit 77 (the South Bend/Notre Dame exit).

Arrival by train to Notre Dame Stadium: The South Shore Line trains run directly from the Chicago Loop (corner of Michigan and Randolph) to South Bend Regional Airport in South Bend (about a two-hour trip). From the airport, the Notre Dame campus is approximately a 15-minute ride by car. Various transportation methods are available (e.g. taxi, rental car, limo).

Notre Dame Weekender unofficial beginning -Tuesday (Oct. 17), Wednesday, (Oct.18), and Thursday (Oct. 19)

Dodgers baseball – And if the Notre Dame weekender couldn’t get any better, if you’re flying back to Chicago early in the week to enjoy all The Second City has to offer in preparation for the official start of the Notre Dame Weekender, did you know our Los Angeles Dodgers will be in Chi-Town – that’s right, in legendary Wrigley Field – to play the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs during the week? For a pretty penny, you can watch the Boys in Blue play on Tuesday and Wednesday (Games 3 and 4 at 6 p.m. CT) and, if necessary, Game 5 on Thursday (5 p.m. CT). Check your local listing to see if the first-pitch times change. The Dodgers and Cubs in the NLCS during the week and Notre Dame/USC football on Saturday, sports doubleheaders like this don’t come along very often.

Friday Pep Rally – Oct. 20

Chicago Navy Pier USC Rally – Noon: This is a huge and annual event at the famed Navy Pier that draws a huge crowd and includes exhilarating entertainment from the Trojans Marching Band and famous USC Song Girls. The location will be at the recently-renovated “Wave Wall Steps” on the south side of the Pier. Admission is free. The rally is hosted by Trojans legendary band director Arthur C. Bartner and showcases the USC spirit. The big turnout draws not only a massive contingent of visiting Trojans fans but curious Midwestern college football fans, as well.

Notre Dame Campus Rally – 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Okay, want to see how the other half lives? The Fighting Irish have a rally of their own on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. in the Hesburgh Library Quad. You’ll hear from Irish head coach Brian Kelly, the Irish team captains, and a celebrity guest or two. All are welcome and ND fans are generally respectful of the opposition fans. The rally ends around 7 p.m.

Friday Notre Dame Tunnel Walk – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: You can walk down the same Notre Dame Stadium tunnel that the Irish will come through on Saturday night. The tunnel is located on the north end of the stadium and taking photos are welcome. FYI, there is a new separate “visitors” tunnel for the opposition, which was part of the ND Stadium renovation.

 Tommy Trojan Game Day Tips

Parking: Get there early!!! There is just one exit off the Indiana Toll Way (Exit 77). Try to park across the street from ND. It will be a long but beautiful walk through the campus to get to Notre Dame Stadium. The cost of parking in the lots surrounding Notre Dame is generally reasonable, but you’ll not be parking on campus. Those choice spots are for the Irish VIPs. Your choices will be the surrounding area (community college/ churches).

Notre Dame Campus – When it’s the Trojans and the Irish, the ND campus is at its finest game day tradition. Get there early to enjoy the entire moment and event. There is nothing like the ambiance of history of the University of Notre Dame. From the famed Golden Dome, The Grotto, St. Mary’s Lake,” the autumn leaves, and celestial environment, it’s quite a spectacle.

If you want to experience a Notre Dame Saturday, you might consider the performance of the Notre Dame Marching Band in front of Bond Hall near the Golden Dome (6 p.m.) before the game and the “Trumpets under the Dome” (6:30 p.m.) located in the main building rotunda on the second floor. The Notre Dame Marching Band trumpets plays the famous Notre Dame Victory March and alma mater. It is quite impressive even if you’re a Trojans fan.

Not long after the conclusion of its 6.pm. concert, the ND Band marches through a massive spirit tunnel of fans to the stadium. If you’re looking for some place to eat, we suggest the student union in the middle of campus that provides a number of fast-food options.

Notre Dame Fan Fest – 10:00 a.m. – 7 p.m.: Known as the Notre Dame Experience, it’s located in the Joyce Fieldhouse (north dome) across from Notre Dame Stadium, admission is free and there is the usual interactive football games, food booths, clothing sales (the Varsity Shop), and autograph sessions. There are free giveaways and photo opportunities.

Notre Dame Bookstore – This is another have-to-see but get there early because the Irish Bookstore, while large in size, is a huge gathering spot. It’s almost impossible not to buy souvenirs, and there will be shirts commemorating the historical rivalry between the Trojans and the Irish. The Bookstore will stay open after the game, but since this is a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, the hours will be adjusted because of the late start.

Tailgate – There is plenty of space to party before the game, but if you’re planning on going back to your car to return eating necessities and utensils, it won’t be worth it. Leave in a trashcan. The ND fans really know how to tailgate and the smell of BBQ and brats is intoxicating.

The Notre Dame Walk – 5:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: The Irish will walk down the Hesburgh Library quad into the stadium. It will be wild and intense.

Trojan Walk – Between 4:30 p.m.  – 5:00 p.m.: Expect the Trojans team busses and their police escort will arrive at Notre Dame Stadium sometime between 4:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. There will be a massive turnout of both USC and ND fans as the Trojans “rocking busses” arrive in front of Notre Dame Stadium at the players’ tunnel entrance, which is the same entrance the Notre Dame team will arrive.

Game Day Sports Bar/Restaurant (South Bend)

Harry Caray’s (Chicago), 33 West Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312.828.0966

Tippecanoe Place (South Bend), 620 W. Washington St. South Bend, Indiana  547-234-9077 tippe.com

Greg Katz
Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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