ACC To Determine Notre Dame’s 5 Football Opponents
The announcement of the ACC partnership with Notre Dame was accompanied by news that Notre Dame would play 5 opponents per year, as well as every team every there years. ACC commissioner John Swofford explained recently that the ACC, rather than Notre Dame, will have the decision as to which 5 opponents Notre Dame plays every year:
Q: How will you allocate the five Notre Dame football games to your conference members?
A: It’s up to the ACC to do that. Notre Dame will accept whatever five games the ACC gives them on any given year. Conceptually what we intend to do is rotate through the entire membership — 14 schools for those five games. We do have some teams that currently have contracts with Notre Dame and we need to take a look at that. We would like to accomplish this without disrupting those particular games that are currently under contract. But once we reach a clean point the idea is to rotate the games through the membership. So that every school knows they will get Notre Dame once every three years either in their home stadium or at Notre Dame.
This, of course, is notably different from the Notre Dame “promise” to schedule 3 games a year against Big East teams. What has been negotiated is Notre Dame limiting itself to 7 games it can schedule and leaving the rest up to the ACC.
While nobody should be under the illusion that the ACC will make these scheduling decisions in total disregard for Notre Dame’s interests, the bottom line is that the deal between the ACC and Notre Dame is quite an acquiescence by Notre Dame. After all, Notre Dame could have requested the right to determine its opponents each year. In any event, this allows the ACC to schedule every team, every three years… plus allow one team to play Notre Dame twice in that period.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts the already-existing contracts between Notre Dame and ACC schools. Even Swofford has no idea how that will work out yet. Stay tuned.