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Notre Dame Football: What’s going on with the Irish?

Just trying to close out on a wild February

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Notre Dame v South Carolina Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

It’s been a busy week for Notre Dame Football, but unfortunately for me, I went a little “part-time” this week. Sorry — kitchen remodeling, teenage daughter, and prepping for a Little League draft kind of took over the whole show this past week. So... let’s talk about some of those things.


Whether it’s real thing or just something that’s blown out of proportion, coaches keep passing on Notre Dame’s open coaching vacancies, and it isn’t the greatest look. This week our focus has shifted to the offensive line coach, and Notre Dame’s top target at the beginning of the week was former Georgia Bulldogs OL coach, Matt Luke.

Georgia v Vanderbilt Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Luke left the coaching business after the 2021 national championship to focus on some family matters. Notre Dame gave it the old college try, but after a couple of days on campus, it looks like Luke is a “thanks, but no thanks” kind of a guy. The search continues and Joe Rudolph of the Virginia Tech Hokies and Brian Callahan of the Minnesota Gophers appear to be the next two (probably in that order).

So we wait.


If Jack Swarbrick wasn’t in the news enough last week, he kind of made up for it with an infomercial that looks like an interview. You can read the entire transcript RIGHT HERE but I’m going to focus on just a small part.

On the latest OFD Podcast I declared myself as someone that may have finally found the “I don’t care if they do or they don’t” button when it comes to football independence. There’s a belief out there (and Jack echoes that with supreme confidence) that Notre Dame is in fantastic shape as an independent. While I agree with that sentiment right now — that’s for RIGHT NOW.

Notre Dame has always been cool with making a few bucks less from its TV deal to protect its independence. The problem that may arise, however, is when that gap between Notre Dame’s TV money and some random Big 10 or SEC school is half a world apart. That gap would basically take Notre Dame out of contention as a real threat nationally, because they just won’t be able to keep up and compete against higher spending levels. It’s why Notre Dame’s new NBC deal has to be incredible.

Again... Jack’s listed priorities aren’t jiving here, but at least the general take is that they need a lot more dough.

“Well, the first goal, we’re talking to NBC because we have an opportunity to do that right now, but what we need from our media partner that NBC has done so well historically, is through, A, broadcast us nationally. Every game.

And, B, give us an opportunity to promote Notre Dame. ‘What would you fight for?’ ads are a great example. No one else is getting 90-second PSA’s. The opportunity to just see campus and the way they cover our games, and helps people understand more about Notre Dame. So, that’s number one. It’s our committed partner to our message and in conveying about Notre Dame.

Secondly, we need the financial resources to compete with the schools in the Big 10 and the SEC. And that’s a given here, that as we enter into new negotiations, we have a very specific goal of making sure we reach those levels because we want to compete.”

Jack followed those statements up with his confident assessment of Notre Dame’s place in a conference realignment world.

“Well, there’s a lot of attention right now on the Pac 12’s media rights discussion. And a lot of speculation that if that doesn’t go well, there may be another phase of realignment here perhaps with some PAC 12 schools moving elsewhere. I don’t know if that’s the case. But it is a very hot topic right now. And there’s a lot of speculation surrounding it.

I’ve never felt better about our independent status, both its value to the university and our ability to maintain it. The expansion to College Football Playoff, 12-team playoff with six at large positions, gives us a fair opportunity to get into the post-season.

The opportunity to have a committed broadcast partner, like I just discussed, gives us an opportunity to stay independent. And finally, the question of whether we can build the schedules we need to build. And that has never been an issue and it’s not now.

I’ve yet to place a phone call to a colleague and asked if they were interested in playing where they didn’t say yes, so we have all the ingredients. Frankly, it’s a great time to be independent, and we’re going to take full advantage of it.”

The climate surrounding conference realignment is still pretty volatile, so I still feel there’s a lot that could happen to force Notre Dame’s hand — unless the money is on point. The Florid State Seminoles, for example, could set off another mad dash around the country.

These are just some things to think about.


The jokes just write themselves.