The second half of Notre Dame's schedule, also known as the Irish's path to the BCS, begins with a home game against the program's most hated rival, USC.
The Trojans experienced a fair amount of turbulence late last month when former head coach Lane Kiffin was fired by USC athletic director Pat Haden at Los Angeles International Airport, though they rebounded well and gained stability with a 38-31 home victory against Arizona last Thursday evening.
During that so called recovery game, Notre Dame was in the midst of its first bye week of the 2013 season, after having defeated Arizona State, 37-34, at AT&T Stadium in Dallas the week prior.
Given the respective trajectories of these two programs, Saturday's meeting in South Bend, Ind., couldn't have arrived at a more decisive point in the season.
The undisputed goal for the Irish going forward is earning a BCS bowl berth, while the Trojans are intent upon salvaging the current season that was, by all accounts, a dumpster fire as recently as two weeks ago. The 85th edition of the "The Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh" will mark the outset of those journeys.
Until Saturday evening, here's what you need to know about Notre Dame's matchup with USC.
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
Place: Notre Dame Stadium
Radio: IMG Notre Dame Radio Network
Spread: Notre Dame by 3, per VegasInsider.com