FOOTBALL

Notre Dame unveils 2017 football slate, times and TV for 2016

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame unveiled its 2016 home football kickoff times and its 2017 schedule on Thursday, and there were some interesting wrinkles with each of them.

Especially when it comes to the Shamrock Series.

In 2016, Notre Dame Stadium will host two night games — the Sept. 17 matchup with Michigan State and the Oct. 15 clash with Stanford. Both will kick off at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

However, the Shamrock Series game, which has been in primetime for the off-site home game’s first seven years of existence, will be an afternoon game this season. The Nov. 12 game with Army in San Antonio, Texas, will have a 3:30 p.m. EST kick time.

All six home games and the Shamrock Series off-site home games will be televised by NBC. Last year’s Shamrock Series game against Boston College at Fenway Park in Boston was aired by NBC Sports Network.

The Shamrock Series takes its first hiatus in 2017. Instead, Notre Dame will showcase a finished Campus Crossroads stadium project with seven home games.

“In 2017, the first year in which we will compete in the renovated stadium, we thought it was important to maximize the opportunity for our fans to attend a home game,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.

“We look forward to restoring the Shamrock Series tradition in 2018 and the years beyond.”

Moving the 2016 Shamrock Series out of prime time makes sense when you start to add up the little things that can make the difference in a team’s bottom line.

College kids are resilient, but ND’s schedule is typically bloated with night games on the road. Adding one more, as a Shamrock Series off-site home game, could contribute to the cumulative drain of having to arrive home in the middle of the night/early morning and have less than 48 hours to recalibrate body clocks.

Last season, ND’s commitment to play at Fenway Park gave Notre Dame four of its final regular-season games away from campus. And three of those four were played at night.

In 2016, ND plays three of its final four games on the road. And with the Shamrock Series game being in the afternoon, only the USC game in the regular-season finale has a chance to be a night game of those three.

It’s not like the Shamrock Series games were garnering primetime-type numbers in primetime anyway. The most-watched of the seven off-site home games was the 2013 Arizona State matchup in Arlington, Texas, with a 2.3 rating.

For comparison’s sake, that's still significantly below ND's least-watched, non-NBC game of the 2015 season — the Nov. 7 clash at Pitt that pulled in a 2.8 rating on ABC with a noon start. The Boston College game, aired on NBC Sports Network, drew a 1.15 rating, lowest of the Shamrock Series games.

Some notes on the 2017 schedule:

• Georgia’s appearance in ND Stadium on Sept. 9 will be the Bulldogs’ first-ever and the first regular-season game for the Irish against an SEC opponent since Charlie Weis’ 2005 team took down Tennessee, 41-21.

• Miami (Ohio) and the Irish meet for just the second time, and first time since 1909.

• North Carolina State will be making its Notre Dame Stadium debut in 2017.

Notre Dame Stadium's Campus Crossroads Project will be finished in time for the 2017 season, and ND is marking that with seven home games and no Shamrock Series off-site game for 2017. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)

2016

Sept. 4 at Texas TBD TBD

Sept. 10 NEVADA 3:30 p.m. EDT NBC

Sept. 17 MICHIGAN STATE 7:30 p.m. EDT NBC

Sept. 24 DUKE 3:30 p.m. EDT NBC

Oct. 1 vs. Syracuse TBD TBD

(MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey)

Oct. 8 at North Carolina State TBD TBD

Oct. 15 STANFORD 7:30 p.m. EDT NBC

Oct. 22 Bye Week

Oct. 29 MIAMI 3:30 p.m. EDT NBC

Nov. 5 vs. Navy 11:30 a.m. EST CBS

(EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida)

Nov. 12 *Army 3:30 p.m. EST NBC

(Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas)

Nov. 19 VIRGINIA TECH 3:30 p.m. EST NBC

Nov. 26 at USC TBD TBD

* Shamrock Series game

2017

Sept. 2 TEMPLE

Sept. 9 GEORGIA

Sept. 16 at Boston College

Sept. 23 at Michigan State

Sept. 30 MIAMI (Ohio)

Oct. 7 at North Carolina

Oct. 14 Bye Week

Oct. 21 USC

Oct. 28 N.C. STATE

Nov. 4 WAKE FOREST

Nov. 11 at Miami (Fla.)

Nov. 18 NAVY

Nov. 25 at Stanford