With Power Five conferences heading towards a conference-only format, what’s going to happen to the Notre Dame football schedule?
Notre Dame Football Schedule. How Could It Change?
The Big Ten announced that it’s going to a conference-only schedule for the 2020 season. That deprives the world of Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame in Lambeau Field in Green Bay, but that’s the only date that affects the Irish.
However, the other Power Five conferences appear to be ready to follow suit, if only to be able to have better control over their standards and protocols during the pandemic.
So what now for the Irish if their games with Arkansas, Stanford and USC are also cancelled?
Start with two basics here. 1) The ACC and Notre Dame relationship will only be strengthened. The Irish already play six games against ACC teams, and they’ll likely be included in as many others as possible, because 2) Notre Dame won’t be wanting for dance partners.
EVERYONE looking for a game will want to play Notre Dame.
So how will the schedule likely look? Here’s what it is now, and what it might be.
Sept. 5 or 6 at Navy
Best guess here is that this stays. The ACC already mandated that no fall sports will start before September 1st, but the American Athletic Conference isn’t going to want to lose one of the few prime games it will have left.
Sept. 12 Arkansas
BYU would be a good fit here if the Arkansas game goes away. Don’t totally discount the idea that the SEC would still want this date, but assume that it’s off. If the Power Five leagues really do lock down, the SEC won’t want the Hogs traveling to South Bend.
BYU was supposed to play Michigan State on this date. If it’s not an ACC team scheduled here for Notre Dame, slide in the Cougars.
Sept. 19 Western Michigan
Sort of like the date with Navy, expect Notre Dame will still have this available. The MAC will want anything it can get with the outside world, and it certainly wouldn’t want to lose the game against the Irish.
If this is allowed by the ACC liability-wise, assume for now that it’s still on.
Sept. 26 Wake Forest (in Charlotte)
Done. Keep it, except it might not be played in Charlotte and could be at Wake Forest. If there aren’t fans in the stands, there’s no reason for the neutral site aspect to the game.
Oct. 3 Wisconsin (in Green Bay)
Game off. This stinks, because it would’ve been one of the most fun games of the season. This might be a week off since all the ACC dance cards are currently filled.
Oct. 10 Stanford
Syracuse … let’s go. The Orange had a scheduled week off here, but they can have that on October 17th with the game against Liberty likely ditched. Virginia is the other possible option with a week off scheduled here.
Oct. 17 at Pitt
This works out perfectly. The Panthers have the week off on October 10th.
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Now is when the flexibility kicks in. If the ACC follows what the Big Ten is doing, it’ll come up with a ten-game season with the likelihood of several built-in breaks to move things around as needed.
In reality, that will likely mean that Notre Dame needs just two extra games to be scheduled with six ACC games set to go already, the Navy game likely, and with the Western Michigan game possibly still on.
Oct. 31 Duke
Perfect. This is where everyone seemingly wanting time off to rest for the Irish pays off. Duke doesn’t play on October 24th and should be fine.
Nov. 7 Clemson
The ACC will do everything humanly possible to make sure this thing is on. Like Pitt and Duke, Clemson gets a week off before facing the Irish – it should be as healthy as possible.
Nov. 14 at Georgia Tech
There’s a shot this gets moved to November 28th if the Notre Dame-USC game doesn’t happen. The Yellow Jackets are supposed to play Georgia, but that probably won’t go. This is where both programs are going to need to be flexible.
Nov. 21 Louisville
Like the Georgia Tech game for Notre Dame, this could be flexible, too. The Cardinals are supposed to play Kentucky on November 28th, and that could be the date with the Irish.
Nov. 28 at USC
The goal will be to keep this game open for any and all possibilities.
If the Irish need a tenth game – or more, depending on what the ACC tries to do – Florida State might fit since this is when it’s supposed to play Florida.
If needed, this is when BYU could slide in – it’s supposed to play at Stanford – or if things get desperate, New Mexico State, who doesn’t have a game scheduled.