Notre Dame announces ’14, ’15, ’16 schedules
Matthew DeFranks | Friday, December 20, 2013
The Irish and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick released Notre Dame’s 2014, 2015 and 2016 football schedules Friday.
Swarbrick, in an interview with The Observer, said they finished the schedules within the past week but it was a frustrating process.
“It would be impossible for me to tell you how many versions of the schedule we’ve produced in the past year,”Swarbrick said. “And every time you thought you were close, one piece would move. A school would tell you, ‘I can play in that year, but I can’t play on that day.’ And you’d go to somebody else and say, ‘Well, can you move to that day?’ And then the whole thing would unravel.
“So I regret that I communicated that I thought we were close several times because I thought we were close several times. Intellectually, it was incredibly challenging. But it was also very frustrating to try and map a way through this.”
Notre Dame will open next season at home against Rice on Aug. 30 before playing its final game for the foreseeable future against Michigan the next week.
On Thursday, Purdue announced that its game against the Irish in 2014 would be moved to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as part of Notre Dame’s annual Shamrock Series game.
“Going to Indianapolis allows us to celebrate the relationship with the state, the increasing connections between us and the state universities in research and medical school, and so, thematically, it made a lot of sense to do that,” Swarbricksaid. “In addition, it is unquestionably one of the best venues to host an event like this. That’s why they do the Final Four all the time. It’s why the Super Bowl works so well.”
The game against the Boilermakers will be the last one against Purdue until 2020, according to Purdue’s press release. Notre Dame and Purdue have played every season since 1946.
Despite the break in the series, Swarbrick said there still remains a logjam in terms of scheduling future football opponents.
“Now, easier to manage because you’re not talking about 16 contracted games that you’re trying to get down to 12,”Swarbrick said. “And, in fact, in resolving these three years, what we did was move a lot of games forward. So the good news is resolving the future years’ schedules will be significantly easier. The bad news is we don’t have a lot of flexibility in them because when you reach your agreement with Purdue that locks in some future dates, well those dates are gone. And when you do the same with Michigan State, those dates are gone.”
Swarbrick did say, however, the Irish tried to keep some spots open with the hopes of scheduling an SEC opponent. That could potentially come in the next cycle of schedules, Swarbrick said.
The game at Lucas Oil Stadium will be one of three regular season contests in NFL stadiums. The Irish will also take on Syracuse (at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.) and Navy (at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.) in pro venues.
Despite its agreement with the ACC to play five games a year against the conference, Notre Dame will only play four games against ACC foes in 2014. The Irish will play six ACC teams in 2015.
Highlights on the rest of the 2014 schedule include home visits by Stanford and Louisville and trips to Florida State and Arizona State.
For the first time since 1916, Notre Dame will not have a Big Ten team on its schedule in 2015. Instead, Notre Dame will play six ACC teams.
Swarbrick said Wake Forest helped alleviate Notre Dame’s schedule issues by agreeing to move its game from 2014 to 2015.
“But the last piece of the puzzle, and it really was a bit of a Godsend that we were able to get it done, was moving the ACC from 5-5-5, to 4-6-5,” Swarbrick said. “So we’re still meeting our commitment, but we’re able to get a little flexibility. And that was only able to be achieved because Wake Forest was such a great partner, the ACC was such a great partner through all this, but on this last piece of the puzzle, Wake Forest really put an awful lot of effort into helping us out.”
In addition to Wake Forest, the Irish will also play Georgia Tech at home and Virginia, Clemson and Pittsburgh on the road. Notre Dame will meet Boston College on Nov. 21, 2015 at Fenway Park as part of the Shamrock Series.
Notre Dame last played at Fenway Park in 1944, when it beat Dartmouth 64-0. Swarbrick said the decision to play at Fenway Park was independent of the hockey team’s appearance this January.
“We look for unique cities, unique venues,” Swarbrick said. “It’s been a long time since anybody played football at Fenway.”
Notre Dame will also play both Massachusetts (coached by former Notre Dame assistant coach Charley Molnar) and Temple in 2015.
The Irish will also open with Texas in both 2015 (at home) and 2016 (on the road). They will make a return trip to Texas in 2016 when they take on Army in San Antonio as part of the Shamrock Series.
Notre Dame will play Syracuse at MetLife Stadium again in 2016 and will welcome back Michigan State to the slate. Miami will come to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time since 1990 and the Irish will celebrate Senior Day with their first ever game against Virginia Tech.
Sports Editor Mike Monaco contributed to this report.
Contact Matthew DeFranks at firstname.lastname@example.org