Dec 20, 2013, 10:45 AM EDT
In a long awaited release, the Notre Dame athletic department and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick just announced the Irish football schedule for the next three seasons.
Below you will find the schedules for the 2014-16 seasons, where they will be played (except for one game in 2016), my thoughts on the schedules, why some teams are no longer a part of a continuous series with the Irish and the 6-5-1 scheduling approach.
A few notes before we begin.
THE SHAMROCK SERIES
THE 2014 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
What Team Excites Me – Seeing Florida State pop up on the schedule is awesome to see. A team that will return Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and possibly be the defending national champion when the Irish take the field against them next year will be a tough mid-season squad to face. One of my best memories of playing Florida State was back in 2002, Tyrone Willingham’s first year as head coach at Notre Dame. Heading down to Tallahassee at 7-0, the Irish were the underdogs against the Seminoles. On the first play on the offensive side of the ball, Carlyle Holiday hit Arnaz Battle over the top for a 65-yard touchdown pass. The Irish would run away from the Seminoles and go on to win 34-24.
THE 2002 GAME VS. FLORIDA STATE
Best Game Of Year – The game I am looking forward to the most next year is the Sept. 6th clash against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium. The game is slated to kick off under the lights as the 2014 home night game. This game will end the continuous series between the Irish and the Wolverines for the foreseeable future.
THE 2012 GAME VS. MICHIGAN (AT NIGHT)
Best Game For A Roadtrip – The roadtrip I want to take next year is to Tempe, Ariz., to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Irish haven’t played at Sun Devil Stadium (or in the Phoenix area) since the 2006 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State and haven’t played the Sun Devils in Tempe since 1998, a 28-9 win for the then 22nd-ranked Irish. So take a trip westward and cheer on the Irish. Just to give you some idea how long it has been since Notre Dame has played Arizona State in Tempe, Adam Archuleta played for the Sun Devils at the time.
Other Thoughts – The Irish will only play four ACC members in 2014 as they already had many contracts set prior to deciding to enter a scheduling partnership with the conference to play five ACC squads per year. To offset the four games in 2014, the Irish will play six ACC teams in 2015.
THE 2015 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
What Team Excites Me – The game that excites me the most is actually the first game of the season. The Irish welcome the Texas Longhorns to South Bend for the first time since 1995, a game the Irish won handily against the 13th-ranked Longhorns, 55-27.
The last time these two schools met was a year later in 1996 when two Top 10 teams met in Austin. In that game, the ninth-ranked Irish defeated the sixth-ranked Longhorns, 27-24, on the back of 158 yards rushing by Autry Denson and 292 as a team. I personally remember watching the game when I was younger. The play I remember is one that actually isn’t all that good for the Irish, but it stays with me to this day. Feel free to watch the play below (and watch the option at work).
Best Game Of Year – The best game of the year will come against Clemson. This was up for best roadtrip, but this game will turn out to be a great one as coach Kelly will face off with Clemson headman Dabo Swinney in most likely the most anticipated game in the new ACC structure for Notre Dame. Heading to Death Valley for just the second time in the history of the program, this will be a great time for the Irish to showcase their squad in the heart of ACC/SEC country.
THE 1977 IRISH VICTORY OVER CLEMSON
Best Game For A Roadtrip – This one is probably the easiest to tell you. Take a trip to the Nov. 21st game against Boston College at Fenway Park. This will be one for the ages. As the Shamrock Series heads into its seventh chapter, the neutral site home game will visit its second Major League Baseball cathedral after visiting Yankee Stadium in 2010.
A LOOK AT THE 1998 GOAL LINE STAND VS BOSTON COLLEGE
Other Thoughts – The Irish will play six games against ACC foes in 2015 instead of the contractually obligated five. The reason is that Notre Dame was unable to move around the pieces of the 2014 schedule that were already set in stone at the time of the ACC agreement for five games a year against conference members.
THE 2016 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
What Team Excites Me – The Irish have never had the opportunity to go against “Beamer Ball” and coach Frank Beamer’s Virginia Tech Hokies. In 2016, they will have the chance. For this reason and more, I am most excited for the Nov. 19th visit from Virginia Tech to South Bend for the teams’ first meeting.
Best Game Of Year – The best game of the year will come in late October against the Miami Hurricanes. The crazy rivalry of the 1980’s will be rekindled in “the house that Rockne built.” In 2010 the Irish dominated the Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl in frigid El Paso, Texas and once again in 2012 at Soldier Field. As Miami head coach Al Golden has begun to turn the program around to its once glorious past, the 2016 matchup with the Irish is sure to be one of the best games of the calendar year.
TAKE A LOOK AT NOTRE DAME’S 2012 WIN OVER MIAMI
Best Game For A Roadtrip – Another easy choice for this category as the Irish begin the season in Austin, Texas. Head on down where everything is bigger and see the Irish play the Longhorns in the Lone Star State for the first time since 1996. The 1996 game between Texas and Notre Dame was honored as one of the top 125 moments in the history of Irish football.
TAKE A LOOK AT NOTRE DAME’S COME FROM BEHIND WIN AT TEXAS IN 1996
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