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Notre Dame Football Needs A Schedule Change To Strengthen Its Independence

Things are good, but they could be a lot better.

Mike Miller/One Foot Down

GAME DAY Y’ALL... well, game night anyways. We’re on the verge of yet another football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy Midshipmen. It’s a hollow event — really. I’m not vehemently opposed to this game, but it honestly offers Notre Dame nothing.

Nobody outside of these two programs cares in the least about this game, and it’s mostly a lose, lose situation. I understand the history (so save your righteous preaching if your disagree with me) but Notre Dame isn’t continuing this nonsense to keep a lifetime pact with the Naval Academy. They keep this game so that every other year they can have another home game on the road like it’s something to be proud of and claim some weird sense of moral high ground.

Perhaps if they ditched this game, I could get on board with the Shamrock Series nonsense — but I just can’t right now.

I’m still convinced that the ACC deal was the best thing to do, because I care about other sports at Notre Dame and it’s the football program’s duty to help support and strengthen the athletic department. At the same time, that deal has boxed the Irish in with a schedule pattern that is extremely restrictive.

That’s basically a conference schedule, and one of the big advantages of not being in a conference is the ability to create a more diverse and exciting schedule (which is different than scheduling murderers row).

Some easy fixes:

  • Stop playing the last game of the season in California every year. USC on the even years is fine and will never change, but Stanford can host us in October or September if they want a big game.
  • Drop Navy. Thanks, but no thanks... find another program, because this game helps with nothing.
  • Limit the Shamrock Series to maybe one every 3 or 4 years (or just drop the stupid thing all together). Games against programs like the Wisconsin Badgers should be a home and home series — neutering it in an NFL Stadium is a sin against college football.
  • Get 7 home games as much as possible. We spent the money on (basically) a new stadium — shit, let’s use it.

Of course many will point to the Irish being 7-0 right now and dismiss this as proof to the opposite, except this is this year and not other years. If Notre Dame would have changed their schedule policy years ago, maybe this year would be more of the norm, and less of an outlier.

There are other ways to do this, but Notre Dame refuses to give it a shot (and probably refuse to even consider it at the moment). All things change, but in South Bend they change at a snails pace. Hopefully the Irish can continue to keep improving as a football program, but I think with some changes that improvement can be quicker and better. Independence gives Notre Dame these choices, but a true independent would stop limiting their choices.