The Future of the Notre Dame Shamrock Series

Notre Dame Shamrock Series
Photo: Matt Cashore // USA Today Sports

The Shamrock Series started in 2009 with Notre Dame beating the Washington State Cougars 40-14 at the Alamo Dome and the Irish will travel back to San Antonio this season to play a familiar foe – the Army Black Knights. In between, the Irish have played at Yankee Stadium, FedEx Field, Soldier Field, AT&T Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Fenway Park. With no Shamrock Series game planned for 2017, where might the Irish play in the future?

The Shamrock Series has been known for its great venues, unique uniforms, recruiting tactics, and its ability to reach Notre Dame Fans across the country. Overall the Shamrock Series has been a success for the Irish.

Most fans might think that by adding the Shamrock Series game that it takes away from the amount of home games on the schedule. But in fact Notre Dame only has to play 5 ACC games a year and can do whatever they wish with the other 7 games. Notre Dame is still able to schedule 6 true home games every year because they don’t schedule home and away games with every program such as Nevada, Ball State, Tulsa, or Western Michigan.

Some fans say that Notre Dame needs to schedule more quality opponents for this game. But the Irish have played a lot of rivals and traditional opponents such as Boston College, Purdue, Miami, and Army and some of these programs have been down for their standards as of late.

This game could be a bigger draw if the Irish played stronger opponents. Arizona State is the only ranked opponent that the Irish have faced in the Shamrock Series, and they were only ranked 22nd. The Irish are undefeated in this game albeit with the level of competition that they have played.

Still, many fans want to see more ranked matchups in this game. Jack Swarbrick will likely give them their wish.

As of now this year’s Shamrock Series game is the last scheduled, but is not the last such game we’ll see. Notre Dame won’t have a Shamrock Series game in 2017 because they want to maximize the amount of home games they will have for the new stadium.

Possible Future Venues for the Shamrock Series

Starting in 2018, look for Jack Swarbrick to add more locations to the Shamrock Series in the future. A few of the main sites that come to mind are Lambeau Field, Wrigley Field, the Rose Bowl, the Superdome, and Levi’s Stadium. Just to name a few. Notre Dame’s national fan base would surely love to see the Irish play in such venues closer to where they live.

In an ideal world, the next Shamrock Series game will be at Lambeau Field. Brian Kelly has already stated that this is a place that he would like to play at. After all, Lambeau Field is named after former Notre Dame Football player Curly Lambeau, who played under the legendary Knute Rockne. Lambeau Field is also home to one of the most historic franchises in the NFL and is the most historic stadium in the NFL.

Some may question my inclusion of Wrigley field given the venues past logistical concerns.  Assuming Wrigley could configure the field in a manner that eliminates previous safety concerns, the idea of having a Notre Dame Football game at Wrigley field would be an event. I understand that Illinois and Northwestern played there in 2010. But that wouldn’t be anything like Notre Dame coming to town. The Irish have already had a ton of success with Shamrock Series at Soldier Field. Chicago is the closest major city to South Bend and playing at one of the most historic ballparks would only make sense after playing at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

Notre Dame has only made one Rose Bowl appearance all the way back in 1925. While the Irish actually played at the Rose Bowl Stadium in 2007 against UCLA, every Irish fan would love to see the Irish play there again, to eliminate the memory of that awful display of football from both teams.

Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl against a California team would be a huge draw. If Notre Dame were ever to make it to the Rose Bowl Game (the actually bowl game) it’s going to be full of Notre Dame Fans. I know there are lots of Irish fans who will spend whatever it takes to see their team play in the Granddaddy of them all.

Both the Superdome and Levi’s Stadium are great stadium venues in key recruiting and geographical locations. As long as Stanford continues its elite level play – extra exposure in Northern California in the Cardinal backyard certainly wouldn’t hurt.  These spots would also give Irish fans on the west coast and South a chance to see a Notre Dame “home” game closer to where they live.

The Shamrock Series is not something that will likely be set in place for the next 50 years, but Notre Dame will likely schedule a few more games in the upcoming years. How long is hard to tell because there is so much changing in the world of College Football. There’s even the remote chance Notre Dame might end up being forced into joining a conference full time.  With all of the money invested into stadium renovations, Notre Dame might also find it more advantageous to just play home games in South Bend. For now, the game has seen a lot of success and the Irish should add a few more locations to this game in the next few years.

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