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Notre Dame football aims to stay relevant
Notre Dame’s decision to join the ACC in all sports except football raised a lot of eye brows. The move forced the decision makers in South Bend to make some touch choices, including dropping Michigan from its schedule after 2014.
The move also prompted the Irish to stagger their rivalry with Michigan State a bit. Notre Dame won’t play Michigan State again until 2016. But that doesn’t mean Notre Dame will be irrelevant when college football begins its new playoff system next season.
Notre Dame introduced its schedule for the next three seasons. Judging by their opponents, it’s evident that the Fighting Irish don’t want to be left without a playoff chair in when the music stops playing. Home games against Michigan and Stanford and road contests vs. Florida State and USC highlight next season’s schedule. There is also a game at Arizona State, which is fresh off a 10-3 season.
The new conference affiliation bought on a lot of major changes. For example, there isn’t a Big Ten team on the schedule in 2015. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick alluded to the Big Ten’s switch to a nine-game conference schedule as a partial reason.
Said Swarbrick: “I mean, their flexibility was limited by the nine game schedule. But so, too, was our challenge of meeting these goals of trying to figure out how we would get all this done. It's probably 50/50. They had less flexibility on when we could play, and we had more things we were trying to work out. So I'd say it's a combination.”
Losing Michigan was a blow to both fan bases, but you can’t accuse the Fighting Irish of going soft as they added Texas to the schedule for 2015 and ’16. Add to that Notre Dame’s yearly battles with USC and Stanford and regular games against the likes of Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech and you have a Fighting Irish program that is more than prepared to deal with the ever changing landscape of college football.
Aug. 30 RICE
Sept. 6 MICHIGAN
Sept. 13 Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.**
Sept. 27 at *Syracuse (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
Oct. 4 STANFORD
Oct. 11 *NORTH CAROLINA
Oct. 18 at *Florida State
Nov. 1 vs. Navy (FedEx Field, Landover, Md.)
Nov. 8 at Arizona State
Nov. 15 NORTHWESTERN
Nov. 22 *LOUISVILLE
Nov. 29 at USC
Sept. 5 TEXAS
Sept. 12 at *Virginia
Sept. 19 *GEORGIA TECH
Sept. 26 MASSACHUSETTS
Oct. 3 at *Clemson
Oct. 10 NAVY
Oct. 17 USC
Oct. 31 at Temple (Lincoln Financial Services Field)
Nov. 7 at *Pittsburgh
Nov. 14 *WAKE FOREST
Nov. 21 * ** Boston College at Fenway Park, Boston, Mass. (night)
Nov. 28 at Stanford
Sept. 3 at Texas
Sept. 10 NEVADA
Sept. 17 MICHIGAN STATE
Sept. 24 *DUKE
Oct. 1 at *Syracuse (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
Oct. 8 at *North Carolina State
Oct. 15 STANFORD
Oct. 29 *MIAMI
Nov. 5 vs. Navy (site TBD)
Nov. 12 **Army at Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas (night)
Nov. 19 *VIRGINIA TECH
Nov. 26 at USC
*ACC Game, **Shamrock Series Game
Home games in Caps