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Haden doesn’t like night kickoff for USC/ND game

USC vs Notre Dame

USC head coach Lane Kiffin looks at the scoreboard after Notre Dame intercepted a Mitch Mustain pass with less than a minute remaining in the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles Saturday, November 27, 2010. Notre Dame beat USC 20-16. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

Hans Gutknecht

While this is hardly the type of bulletin board material that will get a football team fired up, USC athletic director Pat Haden took a minor shot at the team he covered from the broadcast booth.

Haden was surprisingly unenthusiastic about the primetime kickoff for the Irish-Trojan showdown this October, a decision just announced by Notre Dame as they finalized their 2011 home schedule.

While discussing a variety of topics, Haden had a surprising reaction to the decision to push back the kickoff to 7:30 p.m., Notre Dame’s first night home game in 21 years.

Here’s more according to USC beat writer Scott Wolf:

USC’s game at Notre Dame will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (EDT), the first home night game for the Irish in 21 years. The idea was not warmly embraced by USC athletic director Pat Haden, who worked as a broadcaster at the Irish’s last home night game against Michigan in 1990.

“We won’t get back until three or four in the morning,” Haden said. “That could be a long week for our players.”

USC did not have a say in the start of the game but Haden understood the move was made by Notre Dame for financial reasons.

“I wish we could play every game at 12:30 p.m.,” he said. “But I’d also like to triple our rights fees.”

I’m not one to match wits with a Rhodes Scholar, but there are varying levels of comedy in Haden’s complaint. In a nod to Daniel Tosh, here’s the best I can do in (roughly) twenty seconds.

1. Haden didn’t seem to worry about the Irish players who took a red-eye back from LAX after last year’s 8:00 EST kickoff.
2. The kickoff will be 30 minutes earlier than every game played between Notre Dame and Southern Cal in the Coliseum for the last decade.
3. The Trojans will get three hours back while flying, making the travel about 10 times easier than going the other direction.
4. I’m sure Notre Dame (and their fans that try parking in the neighborhoods surrounding the Coliseum) wouldn’t mind an occasional afternoon start in Los Angeles.
5. USC probably wouldn’t have to play a night game if they came to South Bend over Thanksgiving weekend.

While it sounds like sour grapes, what it could be is a sign that there might actually be a rivalry brewing again in the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh.