Notre Dame filled one of two remaining vacancies on their 2023 football schedule on Thursday announcing the addition of Central Michigan – the first-ever matchup between the two programs. Assuming Brian Kelly is still roaming the Notre Dame sidelines by then, Kelly will square off against the school that gave him his first FBS head coaching position.
The game will take place on September 16, 2023 and now gives the Irish 11 games on a schedule that also includes Ohio State, USC, Stanford, Clemson, Duke, Navy, Louisville, NC State, Pitt, and Wake Forest.
Notre Dame has faced a MAC opponent eight times in program history with a perfect 8-0 record in those contests. They face their ninth MAC foe this fall when they kick off the season at home against Toledo.
“I am thrilled for our student-athletes to be able to play on a national stage at this iconic venue,” Central Michigan Athletic Direct Amy Folan said in a statement on Thursday. “Playing such a storied football program, coached by former CMU Head Coach Brian Kelly, will allow us to engage and celebrate with our CMU family and showcase all the great things happening here at Central Michigan University.”
While announcements like this one might not bring the same level of excitement as the announcement of the upcoming series with Florida, games like this are necessary to fill out a schedule – especially when you have a schedule that already includes Ohio State, Clemson, USC, and Stanford. Expect the 12th game for 2023 to be similar whenever it’s announced.
The plot line of Central Michigan being the first FBS school to give Kelly a chance adds a bit to the narrative for the game so that it’s also not just “another game against the MAC.” Kelly will face another former employer this fall when the Irish host Cincinnati on October 2.
Notre Dame still has an open date on its 2022 football schedule in addition to the open slot for 2023 and two available games in 2024.