Notre Dame adds home-and-home series with SEC foe Arkansas

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

When it comes to scheduling, Notre Dame's football program is running low on firsts.

That fact was evident on Thursday, when Notre Dame announced a home-and-home series against Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas, bringing together two tradition-rich programs whose paths have yet to cross.

The first meeting between the Irish and Razorbacks will come Sept. 12, 2020, inside Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to return the favor on Oct. 4, 2025.

“Whenever we have an opponent come to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, there’s another layer of interest in the game. The same is true for our program and fans when we play away from home at a first-time venue,” Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “That is especially likely to be true of these games given the quality and tradition of the two programs.”

Arkansas is one of just four SEC programs (Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State being the others) that has yet to play a football game against Notre Dame. The Irish have played 45 total games against current SEC programs, including 11 against LSU, eight against Tennessee and seven against Alabama.

Besides Arkansas, Notre Dame has two other home-and-home series scheduled against SEC programs. The Irish will play Georgia in 2017 (at Notre Dame) and 2019 (at Georgia) and meet Texas A&M in 2024 (at Texas A&M) and 2025 (at Notre Dame).

Though Notre Dame doesn't currently have a player from the state of Arkansas on its roster, the newly announced series could help bolster the program's recruiting throughout the state.

“This two-game series will provide our program with another opportunity to play a top-caliber foe from the Southeastern Conference,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “Coach (Bret) Bielema is a tremendous coach and his teams have always played a physical style of football. I know our team and fans will be excited to play the Razorbacks.”

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and head coach Brian Kelly talk during Notre Dame football Pro Day Thursday, March 23, 2017, inside the Loftus Sports Center in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN