Fighting Irish and “under the radar’’ aren’t phrases usually seen in the same sentence.

And that situation won’t last long for Notre Dame, the team that everyone loves to 1) love or 2) hate.

Because after a bye this week, ND will line up against No. 13 USC on Oct. 21 in one of the nation’s most storied rivalries.

Win that one, and the 16th-ranked Irish will return to their rightful hype-filled place, delighting shamrock worshippers and irritating everyone else. And a loss would fan the Irish fire in a different way.

That game, which once looked ominous for ND, now looks like another high-profile anybody’s-guess kind of game. That’s because the Trojans—after a loss at Washington State and some narrow escapes, including that double-OT deal with Texas—have their own issues. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.