Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, June 13, 2013
By Eric Murtaugh
Over the past 3 months Arizona State AD Steve Patterson had numerous childish temper tantrums lobbing grenades at Notre Dame because the Irish wanted to cancel their visit to Tempe in 2014. The Sun Devils and their athletic director would hear nothing of this cancellation and instead went on full blast in the media.
After months of stomping their feet, Arizona State finally got their way as it was announced Wednesday that the 2014 game with Notre Dame would still be played.
Although the Irish were apparently willing to work on a re-schedule date for this 2014 game in Tempe the Sun Devils felt far too committed to the game to make any changes. They've invested a lot of effort---linking the Notre Dame game to season ticket packages for more profit as many school's do when the Irish come to town---that they weren't willing to postpone the event no matter what.
Per the new revised agreement the game next fall has been moved from October 25th to a couple weeks later on November 8th. Also, the 2017 game in South Bend has been cancelled which would have completed the home/away/neutral site 3-game series as signed originally back in 2008. This likely means Arizona State's insistence on keeping the 2014 game came at a steep price as Notre Dame was willing to play in 2014 and give up a future home game. Expect the Irish to receive a nice chunk of change for making the trip to the desert next season.
This fall's upcoming Shamrock Series game against Arizona State inside Cowboy Stadium will obviously remain on the 2013 schedule.
With this news Notre Dame still remains over-booked by 2games for their 2014 schedule. Here are the dates that are set so far (CAPS denotes home game):
9/27 Syracuse (Met Life Stadium)
11/1 Navy (FedEx Field)
11/8 Arizona State
11/29 Southern Cal
With a game against Syracuse already set the Irish will compete against 4 more ACC teams that have not been assigned dates yet. There will be additional home games against Louisville, North Carolina, and Wake Forest plus a road game against Florida State plugged in somewhere on the above schedule.
So who is going to get the ax?
When was the last time Notre Dame opened the season with 3 straight home games? There's going to have to be a road game in the 3rd week of September---Florida State would fit awfully nicely I think---or else the Irish won't see a true road game until the 2ndweek of October with the schedule constructed as is.
The Rice game to open the season seems the most logical to be gone with an untenable 8 home games and some relief needed from all those tilts in South Bend to start the season. If you're trying to cross off another weak team the Irish could also eat some cash and cancel the trip to Philadelphia to play Temple as well. You might not be doing yourself any favors with that tough of a schedule but such is life sometimes for Notre Dame. Scratching Temple and Rice off the list would mean the remaining teams went 103-53 in 2012 with a third of the teams winning at least 10 games, none of which were traditional powers USC or Michigan. If Teddy Bridgewater comes back after this upcoming season Notre Dame could face, at minimum, 5 teams in the Top 20 (Michigan, Stanford, Louisville, USC, and Florida State).
We know that USC, Navy, Stanford, Arizona State, and all 5 ACC games will remain for sure. That leaves just Michigan, Purdue, and Northwestern as possible games to be cut if Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick decides to keep either or both of the Rice and Temple games. Either way if Notre Dame wants to play someone the week before Michigan (if the Wolverines are kept on the schedule) only North Carolina and Syracuse have openings on August 30th.
I'm sure most wouldn't mind getting rid of at least 1 of the B1G games but which one would you target? Give up the last home game of the Michigan series? Drop Purdue for a year? Push the Northwestern game into the future?