Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly joined ESPN’s Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” radio show on Wednesday and talked about a variety of topics surrounding the uncertainty of college football right now. One uncertainty that Kelly gave some clarity on is Notre Dame’s schedule for 2020 after already losing three games. Kelly made it clear that if there is a season, the Irish will have no issue filling out their schedule.
“Our phone is ringing off the hook right now in terms of teams looking for games,” Kelly told Greenie. “That is probably the least of our concerns right now. There’s plenty of games for us to play. We’d just like to play some.”
Notre Dame lost games against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field and contests with traditional rivals USC and Stanford last week when the Big 10 and Pac 12 both decided to move to a conference-only schedule. As of today, those two are still the only power five conferences to make a move to conference-only through the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 are all expected to make similar moves shortly.
As we all know, Notre Dame has a unique relationship with the ACC, given its football independence. “We’ve had a collateral relationship in football with the ACC; all of our other sports are in the ACC, so that relationship has been a 6-game schedule. So, we have six,” Kelly explained to Greenberg before also making it clear that the ACC is working with Notre Dame on potentially filling its schedule. (Full audio of the interview is available here)
“Certainly, Jack (Swarbrick) has been in communication with (ACC) commissioner (John) Swofford about adding games to our schedule,” Kelly said. “I think those are ongoing negotiations. We feel confident that the ACC would look towards augmenting those games for us, and as you know, there’s a large inventory of games out there.”
Wisconsin, USC, and Stanford represented three of Notre Dame’s bigger games in 2020, but with available inventory, the ACC and the Irish could create some compelling matchups – assuming there is even a season, but let’s keep pretending there will be for now. Replace those three with say Florida State, Miami, and Boston College, and you have three games against some name-brand teams Notre Dame has some history with. Miami has even publicly said this week that they are interested in helping fill out Notre Dame’s schedule. It’s not ideal, obviously, but nothing is ideal right now.
Of course, there are still a lot of hurdles to be cleared before schedule replacements are even necessary. Each day things look bleaker and bleaker for there to even be a season as case counts across the country continue to climb while states continue to roll back their reopenings. There is still some time between now and whenever a season would start, but the clock is ticking. Kelly did, however, express optimism that they would play football this fall yesterday as well. He just was not sure when that season might be played.