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2019 WeAreSC Travel Guide: Game 6– AT NOTRE DAME (Notre Dame Weekender)


OCT. 12: 4:30 p.m. PT/ 7:30 p.m. ET
Televised: NBC
Location: South Bend, Ind.
Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium
Capacity: 77,622
Surface: Field Turf
Seating Chart: http://stadium.nd.edu/facts-and-stats/seating/

The opening line: Notre Dame opened a 10 1/2-point favorite over the Trojans.

Clock reminder: Chicago is on Central Time and South Bend is on Eastern Time. In other words, 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 Friday and Saturday Chicago Weather Forecast-(UPDATED): On Friday, rain with a high of 67 degrees, low of 36, 90-precipitation, and 84-percent humidity.

On Saturday, sunny with a high of 54 degrees, low of 44, 0 percent precipitation, and 51 percent humidity.

If you’re staying in Chicago (photo above) for the Notre Dame Weekender, there is no limit to the fun, spirit, activities, and general sightseeing of the Windy City. However, bring heavy clothing and an umbrella! Rain is forecast for Friday.

Projected Friday and Saturday South Bend Weather Forecast (UPDATED): On Friday, rain with a high of 69, low of 36, 100 percent precipitation, 86 percent humidity.

On Saturday game day, partly cloudy with a high of 53, low of 43, 10-percent precipitation, and 54 percent humidity.

When you talk about middle America, South Bend (photo above) definitely is a throwback in time. Much of the city revolves around the University of Notre Dame.

Websites: und.com / usctrojans.com


From O’Hare Airport
Take Route 190 east out of O’Hare to Route 90 east (Kennedy Expressway) toward downtown Chicago. Merges with Route 94 south (Dan Ryan Expressway). Take Skyway exit off the Dan Ryan and remain on Route 90 to Indiana Toll Road. Eventually merges with Route 80. Use Exit 77 (South Bend/Notre Dame).

An alternative route: Take Route 190 east out of O’Hare to Interstate 294 south (Tri-State Tollway) and follow the signs for 80/294 and then Interstate 80-90 (Indiana Toll Road). Use Exit 77 (South Bend/Notre Dame).

From Indiana Toll Road
Use Exit 77 (South Bend/Notre Dame). Turn left (north) onto SR 933/Bus.31. Go north – third traffic light (Cleveland Road) turn right (east). At the first traffic light (Juniper Road) turn right, south on Juniper Road. Public Parking is just past the bridge. Please follow directions of traffic control personnel as you approach the campus area.

From Indianapolis
Follow U.S. 31 North. That becomes SR 933/Bus.31 just south of South Bend. Proceed through South Bend and continue north. DO NOT turn on Angela Boulevard but proceed north (past Notre Dame and the Toll Road entrance) and to Cleveland Road, turn right (east). At the first traffic light (Juniper Road) turn right, south on Juniper Road. Public Parking is just past the bridge. Please follow directions of traffic control personnel as you approach the campus area.

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).

A real fun and easy way to get from Chicago to South Bend is to take the South Shore Line (photo above).

Friday USC Pep Rally – Oct. 11

Chicago Navy Pier USC Rally – Noon: This is a huge annual event at the famed Navy Pier that draws a big crowd and includes exhilarating entertainment from the Trojans Marching Band and the famous USC Song Girls. This will also be USC band director Dr. Arthur C Bartner’s last Navy Pier Pep Rally, as the legendary director is retiring after this season. The rally location will be at the recently-renovated “Wave Wall Steps” on the south side of the Pier. Admission is free. The big turnout draws not only a massive contingent of visiting Trojans fans but curious Midwestern college football fans, as well. However, be forewarned that rain for Friday in in the forecast. FYI, the band will be forming rain or shine.

The USC Marching Band Navy Pier Pep Rally (photo above) on Friday at noon is a Trojans’ tradition for the Notre Dame Weekender. This rally will be the last for USC band director Arthur C. Bartner, who is retiring following the conclusion of the current football season.

Friday Notre Dame Campus Activities

Friday Notre Dame Tunnel Walk – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Even if you’re a hardcore USC fan, come walk the fabled path every Irish player has taken. Experience the north tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium and take pictures with the field in the background. Notre Dame’s golden helmets will also be on display for fans to take pictures before the Irish take on USC. Tours begin at the Knute Rockne Gate of Notre Dame Stadium, across from Hesburgh Library.

On Friday, Trojans fans are welcome to take a tour of historic Notre Dame Stadium (photo above) as well as the small but storied campus.

Friday at Notre Dame at the ECK: Stop by the Eck Visitors Center (next to the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore) from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on home football Fridays for an all-day fan experience. Enjoy tailgate food fresh from the grill, live music, interviews with ND celebrities and notable alumni, game analysis with ND football experts, giveaways, performances from student groups, and a sneak peek of each week’s What Would You Fight for? spot. Admission is free.

Friday Notre Dame Campus Pep Rally – 6 p.m. (South Bend time (EDT): Okay, want to see how the other half live? The Fighting Irish have a rally of their own on Friday night (6:00 p.m.) in the Hesburgh Library Quad, which is next to Notre Dame Stadium. Live music will begin at 5 p.m. You’ll hear from Irish head coach Brian Kelly, normally 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.

Saturday – Oct. 12 – Notre Dame campus

Parking: Get there early!!! Notre Dame 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).

Tailgating – There is space if you arrive EARLY 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 trash can. The ND fans really know how to tailgate and the smell of BBQ and brats is intoxicating.

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 events. 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.

Trojans fans always love taking a selfie with “Touchdown Jesus” (photo above) in the background.
It’s not unusual to see both fans of the Irish and the Trojans praying before the game at “The Grotto” (photo above)

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 play the famous Notre Dame Victory March and alma mater. It’s quite impressive even if you’re a Trojans fan. 

The most iconic building on the Notre Dame campus is the one with the “Golden Dome” (photo above).

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.

Heisman House (1 p.m. – 7 p.m.): The Nissan Heisman House Tour, a celebration of the famous trophy, will be on campus for the USC/ND clash. Meet Fighting Irish football greats, along with ESPN’s Neil Everett. You can also check out the all-new Nissan vehicles, win prizes by sharing your experience with #NissanHeismanHouse, and have your picture taken with the prestigious Trophy itself during the ultimate pregame experience. The Nissan Heisman House Tour is in the Shamrock Suite Lot outside of Frank Eck Baseball Stadium … and it’s all free!

Fighting Irish Marching Band Pregame Concert – 6 p.m.: Enjoy the sounds of the Band of the Fighting Irish on the steps of Bond Hall before they march to Notre Dame Stadium. The concert begins 90 minutes before kickoff. If you want to get into the whole Irish game day spirit, Trojan fans might want to see how the ND Band marches to the stadium and the incredible spirit line that forms that shows the way. Enjoy the sounds of the Band of the Fighting Irish before they march from the main building (Golden Dome) to Notre Dame Stadium.

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.

The Notre Dame Walk – 5:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: The Irish team will walk down the Hesburgh Library quad into the stadium. It will be wild and intense and dare we say a little insane. 

Trojan Walk – Between 4:30 p.m.  – 5:00 p.m.: Expect the Trojans team busses and their police escort arriving 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 and then proceed to the players’ tunnel entrance, which is the same entrance the Notre Dame team arrives.

Game Day Sports Bar/Restaurant (Chicago): Harry Caray’s (Chicago), 33 West Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL 60654, phone: 312.828.0966

One of the great restaurants and sports bars in downtown Chicago is Harry Caray’s (photo above), which is named after the late legendary voice of the Chicago Cubs.

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

You wouldn’t think this building would be an outstanding restaurant, but many fans before or after a game love to eat at Tippecanoe Place (photo above) near downtown South Bend.

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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