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Creating the Perfect Notre Dame Football Schedule: Submission No. 3

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Who do we want to play? Who DON'T we want to play?

We're playing USC every year. Let's hope they all end like this one did
We're playing USC every year. Let's hope they all end like this one did
Harry How/Getty Images

Our quest to dig up the perfect Notre Dame football schedule continues. We've already heard from OFD's Eric Murtaugh (check that post for the rules) and YoungCurmudgeon. Today I'm going to take a crack at it.

SCHEDULE SUBMISSION NO. 3

@ NAVY (Neutral Site TBD)

@ NORTH CAROLINA

FLORIDA (New Orleans; Shamrock Series)

MICHIGAN STATE

LOUISVILLE

@ CLEMSON

UCONN

Bye Week

USC

@ BOSTON COLLEGE

GEORGIA

DUKE

@ UCLA

******

How much of a focus are you putting on the Midwest?

Zero. I love the Michigan State series, but outside of that the Midwest doesn't contain any program I would want on an ND schedule regularly. I wouldn't be opposed to another home-and-home with Nebraska at some point, and Wisconsin is an intriguing idea for one as well, but that's about it.

No, I don't want to play Michigan. Thanks.

Explain why you constructed the schedule the way you did and how you picked the teams.

My chief priority was to balance the schedule difficulty-wise. The hope would be that no two-week period contained consecutive games that would be serious threats for a loss. I did  I didn't follow this to the letter, of course, with a really difficult three-week stretch of Florida, MSU and Louisville - but at least none of the games would be on the road.

I also maintained the five-game ACC relationship. I like the arrangement as it keeps ND playing games in the south.

As YoungCurmudgeon did, let's go game-by-game:

Navy: Explained above, and I buy into the reasoning that it should be the season opener.

@ UNC: While sticking with the ACC agreement, I wanted to balance the league foes' difficulty. UNC is generally considered a picturesque spot for a game.

Florida (Shamrock): We'll set aside the fact that UF would never go for this (although they are finally going to play a non-conference game outside the state — first time in 26 flipping years — when they face Michigan in Arlington in a couple of years, so who knows). I actually like the Shamrock Series. It seemed a clumsy idea when it was first announced and executed, but it's grown into a pretty cool way to showcase the school and reinforce the message that ND is the only national college football team. In this particular instance, the Shamrock game would be celebrating the 'Cheerios Bowl' win over Florida on Jan. 1, 1992.

Michigan State: I love the MSU series. Good history, respect for the most part on both sides and good games. I'd love to keep it as a regular feature of the schedule — home-and-home every 6 years or whatever the Spartans want to go for.

Louisville: The second-most difficult ACC opponent on this schedule. REVENGE!

@ Clemson: The most difficult, and the capper to a brutal three-week stretch. I'm not making things easy for the Irish here, but there are repeated chances for quality victories.

UConn: Needed a tomato can here, and I really want ND to avenge any of those terrible losses that happened in the later Weis years and early Kelly years. You're next, USF, Tulsa, etc.

USC: The USC series is basically sacrosanct. There are many that consider USC the Irish's one true 'rival'. I'm one of them.

@ Boston College: ACC again. Should be an easy win more often than not.

Georgia: Want to get an SEC team on the schedule whenever possible. UGA would never come up here in November (and probably wouldn't play ND at home then either, to be honest), but this is my schedule, and I'm going to exert my god-like powers here.

Duke: ACC #5, and presuming Duke isn't unusually good as they have been recently, a needed breather for Senior Day and before the final regular-season game.

@ UCLA: In my ideal world, ND wouldn't have to play Stanford every year to preserve a West Coast road trip in November. I'd love to sprinkle in a UCLA, an Oregon or even the occasional Cal or Washington. It won't happen in reality, but I'm making it happen here.