What can be learned from just a little research: This week’s winner of USC at Notre Dame receives year-long possession of the coveted jeweled Shillelagh. I knew this rivalry was special but never took the time to study the hardware. USC’s game notes describe the Shillelagh as a “Gaelic war club made of oak or blackthorn saplings from Ireland—has ruby-adorned Trojan heads with the year and game score representing USC victories, while emerald-studded shamrocks stand for Notre Dame wins. For tie games, a combined Trojan head/shamrock medallion was used. The first Shillelagh was retired after the 1989 game when it ran out of space for the medallions and a second one is now in use. There are now 46 shamrocks, 37 Trojan heads and five combined medallions on the shillelaghs (One USC win was later vacated due to NCAA penalty).” Those damn NCAA sanctions have even tarnished the Shillelagh! If only USC had concocted, like North Carolina, an elaborate academic fraud scheme that was available to all its students, including athletes, over 18 years. It would have never had to lose 33 scholarships and vacate the 2004 national title. Instead, USC had one player, Reggie Bush, who was deemed ineligible for receiving improper benefits. And the NCAA nearly gave USC the Death Penalty. Meanwhile, North Carolina got to unfurl another NCAA basketball banner this week. Isn’t that special. Anyway, this does not at all diminish this week’s main attraction: USC at Notre Dame, in prime time, on Saturday night. It is the 89th official meeting between the schools but the first meeting since 2009 when both teams are ranked. We’re looking for some good, clean, fun, boys, to take our minds off FBI investigations and the infernal, inept workings at NCAA headquarters. Anyway, on with this week’s super duper ranking: 

 

1: Alabama (7-0): Hosting Tennessee this weekend in hallowed annual game renamed this year the “Third Saturday ass-kicking in October.”  (2)

2: Georgia (7-0): Leading the SEC East this year akin to leading a potato sack race at the annual Founder’s Day picnic in Athens. (3) The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.