USC vs. Notre Dame: Would Win Score Ed Orgeron the Head Coaching Job?

Rick McMahanSenior Writer IOctober 17, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Interim head coach Ed Orgeron of the USC Trojans leads his team as they warm up for the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Los Angeles Coliseum on October 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Typically, the Notre Dame game holds extraordinary importance for those who follow the men of Troy, and this year, it's no different.

What is different though is the impact this game will have on the burly interim head coach whose booming voice carries all of the passion that will direct his underdog Trojans Saturday evening in South Bend, Indiana.

When Ed Orgeron leads his team onto the field this weekend, he will not only be trying to win an important game for the Trojans, but he will also be trying to make history.

You see, only two prior USC head coaches have won their initial contest against the Irish, and never before has that feat been accomplished on the road according to ESPN's Ted Miller.

But it won't be easy.

The same problems that have manifested USC's disappointing 4-2 record still remain, and playing with a depleted roster in front of 80,000-plus rabid Irish fans is a daunting challenge to say the least.

What has changed though is the attitude that the Trojans will take with them this weekend.

Gone is the listless demeanor that marked USC's personality prior to the removal of former head coach Lane Kiffin.

Instead, Trojan players appear to be willing to run through walls for the gravel-throat Orgeron, and he has responded in kind by making this all about the players and not himself.

Will it be enough, though, and if the Trojans can pull off the improbable, will that earn Orgeron a shot at the permanent head coaching gig?

Well, it depends on many things, not the least of which is how USC plays out the rest of the season.

To be certain, a win at Notre Dame followed by a face plant for the rest of the season will buy Orgeron no good will from his athletic director, Pat Haden.

Haden is under extreme pressure from an angry fanbase to bring in a savior to rescue a floundering program, and although Orgeron is widely respected, it will take results for Haden to be justified in offering him the long-term job.

However, those results have to start somewhere, and for Orgeron, that means it begins this Saturday against the Irish.

As USC heads into the brutal part of their schedule—Utah, Oregon State and Stanford are on the menu in the next four games—Orgeron will need a signature win to act as a springboard, and it might as well be against Brian Kelly's boys.

If it is, Orgeron will have laid a foundation for turning this season around, and if—and that is a big if—he can win five or so more games in 2013, he will force his athletic director to think long and hard about keeping "Coach O."

Oh, and let's not forget about the role Orgeron plays when it comes to recruiting. The man is a genius in that department.

Which brings us back to the original question of whether or not a win at Notre Dame would secure the permanent head coaching job for Ed Orgeron.

Maybe not, but it sure the hell won't hurt his cause.