One of the stranger aspects of the release of the Notre Dame football schedules for 2017-2019 on Thursday was the start time for this year’s home game against Miami of Ohio. When the RedHawks make their trip to South Bend on September 30 to face Notre Dame for the first time in over 100 years, the game will kick-off at 5:00 PM ET – a rare time for any game to kickoff.
When it comes to Notre Dame home football games, they have generally started at either 3:30 PM or 7:30 PM ET over the past few years. There’s been a few noon start times in somewhat recent memory but even those have generally been phased out. But 5:00 PM ET? That one is just a bit odd. The reasoning for the odd start time is due to the game being broadcast on NBC Sports Network. NBCSN will be airing Nascar earlier in the day and then the President’s Cup golf after (cue the complaints in the comments about NBC, Notre Dame, Swarbrick, et al).
I am by no means a Lou Somogyi level historian but I racked by brain trying to think of another home game that kicked off at 5:00 PM ET but I couldn’t think of one. I also tried thinking of some positives to a 5:00 start time and really couldn’t come up with too many other than it’s a good excuse to go to a bar to watch the game and eat dinner at the same time.
The game comes sandwiched between road trips to East Lansing and Chapel Hill to face off against Michigan State and North Carolina. All other 2017 Notre Dame home games will be at 3:30 with the exception of USC and Georgia which will both be primetime kickoffs at 7:30 PM ET. All home games other than Miami will be broadcast on NBC. And quick public service reminder, there will not be a Shamrock Series game in 2017 as Notre Dame looks to maximize exposure for Notre Dame Stadium following completion of the Campus Crossroads Project.
Miami’s first trip to Notre Dame in over 100 years will bring back former Notre Dame offensive coordinator and one time defensive backs coach Chuck Martin. Martin left Notre Dame following the 2013 season to become the head coach at Miami of Ohio. At one point last year it looked like Martin might not make the trip.
Martin started his Miami tenure 2-10 and then 3-9 between 2014-2015. Through six games last fall, the RedHawks were 0-6 before rallying to win their final six games. The wining streak propelled Miami to the St. Petersburg Bowl where they fell to Mississippi State 16-17. It also bought Martin another season that looked iffy at best when his combined record was 5-25 after six games in 2016.
Aside from being a former Notre Dame assistant, Martin is also a long time friend of Brian Kelly after coaching under him at Grand Valley State before taking over the program when Kelly left for Central Michigan.
Martin is a coach to watch if he is able to continue the late season momentum he built for Miami in 2016. Martin by all accounts loves Notre Dame and having successful coaches with head coaching experience and an affinity for Notre Dame is always a good thing. That said, here’s hoping that momentum at least momentarily stalls on September 30.