Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis added an additional storyline to his team's showdown with 6th ranked USC on Saturday, boldly vowing today that his team will only lose by a few points just as it did in his trademark game at Notre Dame, a 34-31 loss to the Trojans in 2005.
"That's just Charlie being Charlie. He's a brash, New Jersey guy," said Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. "That's what we like about him. And, boy, we sure would love to lose by just three to USC again. That game was easily the high point of our program in the past 15 years."
And while Jenkins wouldn't come right out and say it, he strongly suggested that Weis could be looking at another huge contract extension with another tight loss to USC, similar to the 10-year extension he received following the 2005 loss.
"Losing by a touchdown or fewer, I think we might have our coach here at Notre Dame locked up until the middle of the century," he said.
Weis made his gusty proclamation this afternoon at his weekly press conference.
"I am just that confident in my team," Weis smirked. "Laugh if you want. But you'll see on Saturday. The days of Notre Dame getting crushed by the top teams are over. They're over. I guarantee you we don't lose by more than 10 points. In fact, I think it will be a one score defeat. And it's all thanks to my players and the strategic advantage I bring."
Those lines drew applause from several Notre Dame staffers and boosters in the room, as well as NBC reporters.
But not everyone is as pleased with Weis' words.
"Oh, this is definitely bulletin board material," says USC head coach Pete Carroll. "My players don't work as hard as they do every day to barely beat Notre Dame. They're going to be ready on Saturday."
Yet Weis feels that no matter how well USC plays, his team can match them play for play. Almost, at least.
"When we walk off that field on Saturday, our heads are going to be held high," he said. "Because we'll be looking up at that scoreboard proudly and thinking: 'Huh, a six point loss to USC. That's not bad at all. We don't suck nearly as much as everyone says.'"