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#pounditSunday, April 21, 2024

Lincoln Riley makes clear statement about future of USC-Notre Dame rivalry

Lincoln Riley with USC

Apr 23, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Lincoln Riley during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC’s upcoming move to the Big Ten has raised questions about whether it might have some sort of impact on the team’s annual rivalry game against Notre Dame. Coach Lincoln Riley offered a pretty clear stance on that question Friday at Pac-12 media day.

Riley said he would “find a way” to ensure that Notre Dame remains on the Trojans’ schedule even after the conference switch, pointing out its importance to both schools.

“That’s one of the biggest rivalries in college football,” Riley said, via Heather Dinich of ESPN. “We’re going into a damn good league. We open up with LSU next year and then play the whole Big Ten. Are we getting rid of Notre Dame? Hell no. Find a way.”

Riley faced the question in the wake of Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy making pointed comments about his team’s rivalry with Oklahoma as the Sooners prepare to move to the Big 12. The situation is not quite the same for USC and Notre Dame, with the Fighting Irish’s independent status making it an easier game to work in, regardless of what league USC is playing in.

USC and Notre Dame first played each other in 1926 and has been played every year since with the exceptions of 1943-1945 and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Fighting Irish hold a 48-37-5 head-to-head record against the Trojans.

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