Notebook: Notre Dame football scheduling a potential headache in 2018

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Amidst a squall of football scheduling news on Thursday, Notre Dame inadvertently published a 2019 road game at Georgia as being on a Sunday, and a 2020 matchup at Pitt slated for a Friday.

Too bad the announcement of a Nov. 17 home game in 2018 with Syracuse being moved to Yankee Stadium in New York wasn’t a typo, too.

As cool of a venue as Yankee Stadium is for football — or anything else — we’ve seen this movie before, a 2010 Shamrock Series matchup with Army, and a Pinstripe Bowl victory over Rutgers in 2013.

For the record, the 2018 matchup with Syracuse will be the 27th time that the Irish have played at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame is 17-6-3 (.712) all time there. So past success, nostalgia, and happy East Coast alums and subway alums — we get it.

In terms of trying to coax a talent-laden, experience-laden 2018 Irish team into a New Year’s Six/Playoff destiny, this makes no sense.

With the schedule adjustment, the 2018 Irish will now play six of their final nine regular-season games and four of their final five away from Notre Dame Stadium. The lone home game in that frantic finish? Florida State in prime time on Nov. 10, the de facto Senior Day date.

This past season was the first since 2008 in which the Irish didn’t package a home game and play it offsite, branded as a Shamrock Series game.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick explained that was because 2017 was the first season in refurbished/reconfigured Notre Dame Stadium upon completion of the Campus Crossroads project.

There has not been a Shamrock Series game designated for 2019 — yet, but the Irish are committed to playing Wisconsin in 2020 (Green Bay, Wis.) and 2021 (Chicago) in Shamrock Series games.

ND, in its press release, points out the Irish are 8-0 all-time in Shamrock Series games. And only two of the outcomes were by single digits. But what about the aftermath?

The Irish are 4-4 in the games immediately following the Shamrock Series game, including losses in each of the past three such games. The largest margin of victory in the five post-Shamrock Series wins is seven points, in overtime, (20-13) over Stanford in the 2012 season.

On the heels of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Sunday claiming that his 2017 Irish squad was worn down mentally and emotionally in November, is anyone in power listening?

Kickoff times

Notre Dame on Thursday released the kickoff times for its six 2018 home games and the Shamrock Series contest in New York City, and the striking part about it is there’s more prime time.

ND has upped its commitment for night games with TV partner NBC to five over a two-year window. So after having Georgia and USC under the lights in 2017, Michigan (Sept. 1), Stanford (Sept. 29) and Florida State (Nov. 10) all have 7:30 p.m. ET start times.

Previously, the ND-NBC agreement called for a maximum three night games over two seasons.

As far as the other home games, only Ball State on Sept. 8 is set for the normal 3:30 p.m., time slot. Vanderbilt, Pitt and the Yankee Stadium matchup with Syracuse all have 2:30 start times.

Looking ahead

Notre Dame opens the 2019 season in a Labor Day Monday night (Sept. 2) matchup at Louisville. The other ND road games on the previously announced 2019 schedule, in a season that features two bye weeks, are at Georgia, Michigan, Duke and Stanford.

In the newly released 2020 schedule, the Irish have only three true road games (Pitt, Georgia Tech and USC) to go along with three neutral site games — Navy in East Rutherford, N.J.; Wake Forest in Charlotte, N.C.; and the Shamrock Series matchup vs. Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wis.


Sept. 2: at Louisville

Sept. 7: Bye Week

Sept. 14: NEW MEXICO

Sept. 21: at Georgia

Sept. 28: VIRGINIA


Oct. 12: USC

Oct. 19: Bye Week

Oct. 26: at Michigan


Nov. 9: at Duke

Nov. 16: NAVY


Nov. 30: at Stanford


Sept. 5: vs. Navy*

Sept. 12: ARKANSAS


Sept. 26: vs. Wake Forest^

Oct. 3: vs. Wisconsin#    


Oct. 17: at Pitt

Oct. 24: Bye Week    

Oct. 31: DUKE


Nov. 14: at Georgia Tech


Nov. 28: at USC

*At MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.

^ At Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.

# At Lambeau Field: Green Bay, Wis.

All-America honors

The trickle of All-America teams has started, and it appears Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson will be a staple on them.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound senior from Holmdel, N.J., earned first-team honors from Sports Illustrated, the Walter Camp Foundation and new national college football website, The All-American.

Grad senior left tackle Mike McGlinchey also earned first-team honors from SI and Walter Camp, while landing on The All-American’s second team. Sophomore cornerback Julian Love was a second-team mention on the SI team.

Citrus Bowl broadcast team

The TV broadcast team for the Citrus Bowl matchup between Notre Dame and LSU, Jan. 1 on ABC-TV, will be Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich. Former ND linebacker Rocky Boiman will be part of the ESPN radio crew.


(All Times Eastern)

Date     Opponent     Time     TV

Sept. 1     MICHIGAN     7:30 p.m.     NBC

Sept. 8     BALL STATE     3:30 p.m.     NBC

Sept. 15     VANDERBILT     2:30 p.m.     NBC

Sept. 22     at Wake Forest     TBA     TBA

Sept. 29     STANFORD     7:30 p.m.     NBC

Oct. 6     at Virginia Tech     TBA     TBA

Oct. 13     PITT     2:30 p.m.     NBC

Oct. 20     Bye Week          

Oct. 27     vs. Navy (San Diego)     TBA     TBA

Nov. 3     at Northwestern     TBA     TBA

Nov. 10     FLORIDA STATE     7:30 p.m.     NBC

Nov. 17     vs. Syracuse*     2:30 p.m.     NBC

Nov. 24     at USC     TBA     TBA

* Shamrock Series Game at Yankee Stadium


Twitter: @EHansenNDI

Notre Dame, right, prepares to snap the ball against Rutgers from deep in their own territory during the first half of the Pinstripe Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/FRANK FRANKLIN II