The last Notre Dame game I missed was 8 years ago. I wanted to go to this year's game, but I have kids who can't miss school, and with such a late start in South Bend, it just wasn't going to work out. To stay in Chicago, I'd be looking at a drive back to the city that would last until about 2 a.m., leaving everyone exhausted. To stay in South Bend, we would need to take a very inconvenient set of flights, or fly into Chicago on Friday night and drive into town very, very late or else fly in on Saturday and risk a flight delay that could cause us to miss the game completely. So I'm going to watch it at home on TV. If you're going, here's the situation:
Weather: Today, the weather forecast for Saturday in South Bend is mostly clear with a high of 62° and an overnight low of 42°. There's rain expected today and on Sunday.
Tickets: Ducats are more expensive this year. The cheapest seat on Stubhub is $319, and it's a bad seat. The cheapest lower level pair between the goal lines - $1,000.
USC Activities in Chicago and South Bend: The 2011 USC vs. Notre Dame Weekender is headquartered at The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 East North Water Street, Chicago, IL 60611, (877) 242-2558. The Weekender festivities include a Pep Rally on Friday night and a tailgater on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on campus.
What to Do On Campus: I've now been to South Bend three times. I read a couple of lists of stuff to do at a Notre Dame home game, and, being a Trojan, I won't want to do them all, but here is a slightly modified list of 25 things visiting fans can do for fun at a Notre Dame game.
- Go inside the administration building and check out the mural on the inside of the golden dome.
- Light a candle and say a prayer at the Grotto for Notre Dame to get shut out. It worked last time.
- Go to Mass in the Sacred Heart Basilica; or at least stop in and reiterate your prayer for a shutout.
- Buy some stuff at the campus bookstore for your Irish friends and relatives back home.
- Don a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" button but expect nothing because you're wearin' the Cardinal & Gold.
- Watch the team come out after the pregame Mass in the Basilica.
- Follow the ND band at least part of the way to Notre Dame Stadium.
- Greet USC coaches and players as their bus rolls in.
- Take a photo with Touchdown Jesus. For bonus points, use forced perspective and post what you got,.
- Jump up and give Fair-Catch Corby a high five.
- Visit the Sports Heritage Hall at the Joyce Center.
- Sit with Moose Krause outside the Joyce Center.
- Flash a Victory sign at "No. 1 Moses".
- Visit Rockne's grave in Highland Cemetery on Portage Avenue. Thank him for a great series.
- Spend at least an hour at the College Football Hall of Fame. See Knute Rockne's statue. Next time USC comes to South Bend, the Hall will be in Atlanta.
- Splash your hands in the Stonehenge Fountain (Clarke Memorial).
- Pose for a photograph with somebody dressed like a leprechaun.
- Purchase a bootleg t-shirt that has the date of the game printed on it.
- Greet the statues of Leahy, Parseghian and Holtz outside the stadium.
- Walk up to the anti-Catholic protesters and ask "You need a ticket? How much you got?"
- Buy a game program and immediately wrap it in plastic in case it rains or someone dumps their cup on it.
- Before going to your own seat, walk all the way to the top and take a picture of the stadium.
- Smuggle in some hard liquor, but not whiskey. Let them Irish drink the whiskey.
- Snag about 20 souvenir soda cups after the game. They'll clean up just fine.
- Snap a photo of the final score on the scoreboard, win, lose or draw.
Where to Go, What to Do: If you are here from out of town, here's a little help, from Notre Dame Stadium's website (if you know of one more up-to-date than 2006, let me know):
TICKETS -- Safeguard your tickets, keep them in a secure location - and treat them like cash! Everyone needs a ticket for admission, regardless of age.
TICKET RESALE -- Adhere to the Athletic Ticket Resale Policy. The ticket office actively monitors secondary market sales and enforces this policy. So far this year more than 600 tickets have been revoked and privileges of the owners have been suspended. In fact, 400 of those tickets were caught prior to being sent to the customer. Those tickets were resold to alumni who lost in the lottery. A Ticket Office Resale Violator Tipline is available via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send any suspected violators or information to this address.
TICKET FRAUD -- With high demand for this year's tickets, scams and ticket fraud are on the rise. Be very cautious when buying tickets from any entity other than the University. For more information, refer to the July Ticket Office Fraud and Scam Alert.
PRIDE -- Protect the Notre Dame home-field advantage! Wear Notre Dame colors and do not provide tickets to visiting team fans!
CAMPUS PARKING -- In the last few years there have been significant changes in the campus and surrounding roadway infrastructure due to campus improvements. Arrive early to be assured of a spot so you can gain entrance to the Stadium by kickoff. Many roadways that you may have been accustomed to utilizing are no longer available: Parking Map.
GAMEDAY PARKING - All gameday drive-up parking is located in the White Field (north of campus) which is accessed from Juniper Road via Cleveland road. Do not approach from the south. Do not approach from internal campus.
BUS PARKING -- Bus parking has also been relocated from directly south of Joyce Center to Old Edison Road due to road changes. ALL busses should approach from the south.
JUNIPER ROAD -- Juniper Road between Douglas Road and Angela Blvd./Edison Road is closed permanently to traffic.
RESERVED PARKING -- If you have a reserved parking pass please be sure to follow the directions on the reverse of the pass and follow the directions of parking attendants. Limited reserved parking is still on sale. Please contact the Ticket Office for more information by calling 574-631-7356 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT. Restrictions apply. You must have purchased tickets directly through the Notre Dame Ticket Office to be eligible to purchase parking. Please call for details. Lots and availability are subject to change.
Please review the links below for more information on football parking, directions and additional information:
Football Parking Information Directions to Notre Dame Other:
TIME ZONE -- As of April 2, 2006, the state of Indiana began observing daylight savings. As such, Notre Dame is in the Eastern Time Zone (EDT through last weekend in October, then EST) and will be aligned with the east coast year-round.
SMOKING -- In accordance with a new St. Joseph County ordinance, there will be no smoking in any part of Notre Dame Stadium. Passouts will not be permitted.
POLICIES -- For more information on gameday and stadium policies: click here.
ALCOHOL -- As a reminder, alcohol is prohibited in Notre Dame Stadium.
TAILGATING -- There is no tailgating permitted in parking lots during the football games.
There you have it, your Game Day Guide. Enjoy the festivities.