Notre Dame fans are going to get very used to seeing ACC teams now that the Irish will be playing 5 games a season against their conference (in all other sports) brethren. With that in mind, here’s a look at some matchups I’d love to see against ACC teams without taking into account teams Notre Dame is already slated to play regularly such as Boston College and Pitt.
Many Irish fans might not remember, but Notre Dame and Clemson had a home and home series in 1977 and ’79 with the two schools splitting the games by both winning on the road. Dan Devine’s 5th ranked Irish took care of #15 Clemson on the road in ’77 during Devine’s national championship season on the Irish sidelines. Personally, I have always kind of liked Clemson as well. Maybe it’s because Brian Dawkins, my favorite non-Notre Dame athlete in any sport, went there or maybe it’s because I’ve always liked the orange jerseys. Whatever the case, a road game with Clemson is unique road trip for Notre Dame fans, and I know I will be making the first road trip to Death Valley.
I know that the current agreement calls for Notre Dame to play every ACC team once every three years, but I for one would not be opposed to seeing the Irish and Seminoles playing every year. The 1993 classic still ranks as one of my fondest memories as a Notre Dame fan. I still remember vividly skipping basketball practice that afternoon as an 11 year old and telling my coach, “Sorry coach, but it’s #1 vs. #2.” Combine that with my affection for the NBC intro narrated by Bob Costas and it’s easy to see why I would love a yearly match up with them… just around the corner… on main street.
And on that note, I would be completely remiss if I did not embed aforementioned intro at this time.
Oh yeah, and we definitely are in need of some payback for last year’s Champ Sports Bowl.
The only school in the ACC that Notre Dame has never played. Virginia Tech would be a great road trip and a great opponent for the Irish. Frank Beamer’s teams are consistently ranked in the top 25 year in and year out and play a brand of football most Notre Dame fans would love to see more of in South Bend – smart, tough, fundamentally sound, and featuring great special teams play. A Notre Dame – Virginia Tech matchup would be an event in college football and would pit one of the most storied programs in college football history against one of the strongest programs of the past 20 years.
While the Hurricanes might not be what the once were – and while this year’s matchup appears to have lost a lot of luster thanks to Miami’s lackluster play so far – anytime the two schools play will be a constant reminder of the intense rivalry the two schools had at the end of the 80’s. Notre Dame has now won the last two matchups in this series and owns a 16-7 edge in the all-time series. I for one would not mind seeing Notre Dame continue to improve on that record with regular showdowns with Miami. A late season road trip to South Beach would be a little bit more attractive than squeezing in an extra home game in November in South Bend too.
Notre Dame and Georgia Tech have played some really entertaining games over the years and with one option team, Navy, already on the yearly schedule, a game against the Yellow Jackets would make a lot of football sense for Notre Dame. Defending the option can be a daunting task if you are unfamiliar with it, but since the Irish already need to prepare for it once a season, they could be in a unique position in such a matchup. Additionally, a road trip to Atlanta would also be a fun trip for Notre Dame fans to make.
While the Cavaliers might not necessarily offer the stiffest of competition from a football perspective, Charlottesville is an absolutely awesome college town with a beautiful campus. The two schools have actually only played once – a 36-13 victory for Lou Holtz’s squad in 1989 – with neither team visiting the other’s campus. For the history geeks among us, there are a lot of great Civil War sites to be seen in the area as well which would make for a pretty nice fall road trip.