Finally, some spice in the Notre Dame-USC football rivalry.
But seriously, as if any Irish-Trojans confrontation required a more electrified backdrop, there was this bombshell out of South Bend on Wednesday: Notre Dame will host its first home night game in 21 years this fall, and the opponent will be USC.
The Oct. 22 matchup between the teams will kick off at 6:30 p.m. CDT. It's the first Notre Dame Stadium night game since Michigan visited under the lights in 1990.
"While we will do this only on a selective basis, we think it is important to occasionally use the platform of a prime-time game to promote the university and our football program," Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick said in a release.
"When you look back at the previous home night games we've played, a number of those have been hallmark events in the history of our program. We are confident this year's USC game will continue that tradition."
Notre Dame also announced the kickoff times for its full slate of home games and its one "off-site" home contest:
Sept. 3: South Florida, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Sept. 17: Michigan State, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Oct. 8: Air Force, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Oct. 22: USC, 6:30 p.m. CDT
Oct. 29: Navy, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Nov. 12: Maryland, 6:30 p.m. CST (at FedExField, Landover, Md.)
Nov. 19: Boston College, 3 p.m. CST
What's more, the school also announced variable game ticket pricing for its home games for the first time. Tickets for three of Notre Dame’s six home football games in 2011 – Sept. 17 against Michigan State, Oct. 22 versus USC and Nov. 19 against Boston College – will cost $80.
Prices for games Sept. 3 against South Florida, Oct. 8 versus Air Force and Oct. 29 against Navy will be $70, the same as the single-game price in 2010 for all games at Notre Dame Stadium.
"The reality of our budgeting process is that football ticket revenue is critical to our ability to contribute to the University's academic programs and finance our other varsity sports," Swabrick said in a statement. "We are fortunate in that every Notre Dame home football game has been sold out formore than four decades.
"In that light, we've determined this is the most prudent model to enable us to accomplish our overall budgeting goals while continuing to make sure that our games remain affordable. This approach allows us to provide our fans with options."