When talking about the future of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program, it’s hard to not look at the past. For a blue blood program, the burden of history will almost always shape the path of tomorrow.
Without diving into everything, Notre Dame has in its corner:
- 11 claimed national titles (with about double the amount unclaimed).
- 7 Heisman Trophy winners
- 97 consensus All-Americans
- 2nd most NFL Draft picks all-time
- 3rd most wins in CFB history
Those are facts that instill a great deal of pride from the fans and alumni, but it also causes all sorts of issues. Justified or not, the expectation level every year is fairly high, and when that level isn’t met, it’s chaos.
But, these are things we already know. Let’s dive into what we don’t know, and guess mightily as to where the Irish football program will be in five years.
Whoa, whoa, whoa there... are we really starting out with this? Well, yeah- absolutely. This is Notre Dame after all, and with those high expectations comes only one real goal. That goal is a national championship.
I have no idea, and refuse to give any prognostication whether or not Notre Dame wins one or more national titles over the next five years. What I can predict is less than, but on track for that most coveted title. Notre Dame will be in the playoffs for a couple of those five years.
Do I have anything to back this claim up? Sure...
I’m not sure what version of Brian Kelly we are under right now. Is it really 2.0, or is it 2.2? Maybe it’s 3.0- at any rate, Brian Kelly made some pretty bold decisions over this past season. He had to examine everything that he had done and was doing, and made moves to correct the things that had gone wrong.
That’s a much more difficult prospect than at first glance. Brian Kelly has 2 undefeated regular seasons under his belt in the FBS, and because of that, one can get mighty comfortable in what they are doing. That comfort becomes confidence, and that confidence becomes blind ambition.
Whether you like him or hate him, Brian Kelly was one game away from leading the Irish to a national championship. One game away. 2012 was the closest the Irish had been near a title since 1993, and the first time they played a bowl game for the title since 1988. It was in defiance of 2 decades of failure.
We will have to wait and see how these current changes to the staff will affect next season and beyond, but they certainly seem to be massive upgrades. If you believe that, and add that to the ability to win a lot of games, I think it’s reasonable to expect the Irish to play in the playoffs at least once- if not twice in the next five years.
Notre Dame Stadium
The future is now in regards to Notre Dame Stadium. This fall, the Campus Crossroads project will be finished (mostly), and the stadium will now have:
- Ribbon Boards
- Shorter Irish Guard
- Same $15 hot dogs
- Piped in music
- Luxury suites
- New tiered pricing ticket system
Everything that Knute Rockne had in his original plans for the stadium. Some of these things already have been in place over the last few years, while others will make their debut.
It will be a far different experience than in 2012, and even more different than 1993. We await how all of this will play out with the fans. I’m no expert, but I imagine it will go a lot smoother if the Irish are winning.
Notre Dame has their conference affiliation in the bag right now. They are partial members of the ACC, and if the football team seeks to join a conference fulltime- it has to be the ACC according to their contract.
Here’s the thing... it’s never going to come to that. Well, at least in the next five years. The playoff system that is in place right now takes its top 4 teams according to its rankings, and it really doesn’t matter all that much to the Irish.
Even if the system would change and expand to 8 teams- Notre Dame is actually safer in its Independence.
So, what will the state of the program be in 2022?
Call me a cautiously optimistic, but I think the program will be on solid footing. A lot of the changes that were needed to keep up with the rest of the college football world were already made, while the things that didn’t change were most likely kept that way by the University.
I expect and foresee more consistency from the program, but like I said before, I won’t predict a national championship- something we all keep a sharp on each year. I do think the program will evolve into a perennial top 10 program.
Sorry BK haters, he’ll still be there, and so will Jack Swarbrick.
I’m really trying to not blow a bunch of sunshine and rainbows up your, well... ear holes. We have tasted success recently, and with the right steps (and ones I think that are being made) Notre Dame can find various levels of high success each year.
Are you optimistic about the next 5 years?
This poll is closed
On the fence