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Notre Dame Stadium: The Quest for Home Field Advantage

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Will a new dark, cramped, and long space enhance field advantage for the Irish? Plus, it’s “announce newly scheduled games week” in college football.

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NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is upon us. Everywhere you turn, analysts drafts are being mocked, sizes, strengths, weakness and experiences are being evaluated, and everyone has their own opinion on where DeShone Kizer and other players will begin their pro careers. However, amidst the incessant coverage the big money business, I’d like to offer you a reprieve. Let’s talk about Notre Dame Stadium. If you recall, the Crossroads Project is in the works, and construction has been completed on a few things.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

You may have seen the Jumbotron during the spring game, and know of the extra press box area and different seating being added to the stadium. However, STB’s Mike Vorel had an opportunity to explore another, less-talked-about addition. A new visitor’s tunnel.

Man, oh man. Look at that thing.

As Vorel points out in the article, and this is something that I’ve thought about a few times since attending a few home games that were honestly kind of boring, the University of Notre Dame is not an intimidating place. The exception to this rule has been, in my experience, has been the night games against marquee opponents (ranked USC and Michigan squads).

While it may be true that other schools suffer from the same type of effect, it’s always stuck out to me that at Notre Dame, especially in games against non-marquee opponents that take place at 2:30pm, you kind of feel like you’re watching a movie. That’s just this one fan’s perspective, but, for the players, it’s easy to become disengaged and just go through the motions. These are non-marquee opponents, I can see why the team wouldn’t be engaged in the first place.

On the other side, there is no oppressive crowd noise to distract you from the fact that “Hey, we can hang around with these guys. They aren’t blowing us out yet.” That’s how you get upset in a late season game against a middling ACC opponent.

At least with this new tunnel, opposing players and coaches may just feel a tad oppressed, and even claustrophobic, before they even take the field. More often than not, this will help the home team.

More Offseason Notes

With draft coverage eating up the news, some schools have taken the opportunity to announce series that have been scheduled off in the future.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Notre Dame vs Ohio State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State was one of those schools, having announced games against the Washington Huskies, TCU Horned Frogs, and Miami University Redhawks. Don’t you dare scoff at the RedHawks, now. Chuck Martin’s squad finished up last year’s campaign 6-1 in their last seven, with the sole loss being a two-point defeat to an SEC school. They also visit Notre Dame Stadium this September to get a first-hand look at the new visitor’s tunnel.

NCAA Football: St. Petersburg Bowl-Miami (Ohio) at Mississippi State Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

TCU was also part of an announcement, as the Purdue Boilermakers announced a home-and-home with the Horned Frogs. This begs the age old question yet again: do we want the Boilermakers to be good? Do we care? I can’t answer that right now. However, this is a continued trend in which schools are beefing up their schedule for the future in hopes of putting together enough quality wins to be considered for the college football playoff, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

That’s all for this Friday’s links post. Stay tuned to OFD for continuing draft coverage, and have a great weekend.