Came across this tidbit today about Notre Dame scheduling Big East teams over the new few seasons from the Charleston Daily Mail:
The independent Fighting Irish will return to what was a long-time series with Pitt in 2008, and will visit the Carrier Dome in Syracuse in ‘08 (returning a 2005 Orange visit to South Bend, Ind).
ND, a Big East member in conference sports except football (and part of the league’s second-tier bowl agreements) has committed to playing each of the Big East eight teams in a rotating schedule starting in 2011.
The plan has the Irish playing three foes annually (one home, one road, one at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.).
“Other than Pitt (future series), there’s nothing set,” Carparelli said. “Notre Dame is talking with Rutgers, UConn, Cincinnati and USF right now.”
Rutgers and Notre Dame reportedly have discussed playing six consecutive years (2010-15).
Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing any of those teams on the Notre Dame schedule and selfishly love seeing Pitt back on the schedule since thats not a terribly long road trip for me. Getting some better exposure in the Northeast is certainly a good thing for Notre Dame with Rutgers on the rise under Greg Schiano and UConn right around the corner under Randy Edsall.
Notre Dame has done very well recruiting in areas like New Jersey under Weis. Names like Duval Kamara, Mike Ragone, and Hafis Williams come to mind. The Irish haven’t been as big of players in Pennsylvania but have landed quality prospects like Steve Paskorz and more noteably Darrin Walls. Playing some games up in the Northeast can only help with recruiting as Weis continues to build up his recruiting base.
In terms of strength of schedule, its tough to tell how this would affect the Irish since a lot can change between now and then. Will Rutgers continue to be a top 25 team? Very possibly if Greg Schiano sticks around. Will UConn rise to the top 25 level by then? Probably not since it takes time to build a perennially tough team (although snaring Zach Frazer is a good start). I would think Notre Dame will look to play one of the mid to upper echelon Big East teams such as a Rutgers or Pitt along with one of the lower echelon teams such as UConn, Cincinnati, or South Florida and then one wild card team that is more unpredictable such as Syracuse to fulfill their three game a year commitment, but nothing is set in stone so its anyone’s guess.