Notre Dame Football: 10 Potential Home & Home Series

Every fanbase in college football wants to play the Fighting Irish and I compiled a list of ten intriguing matchups that Notre Dame should schedule.

Notre Dame is always circled on the opponent’s calendar, and the Irish have the luxury of playing whoever they want, whenever they want, and wherever they want. Without a doubt, the Fighting Irish are the most sought-after opponent in the country but only play 12 teams each regular season. I gathered a list of potential schools that new athletic director Pete Bevacqua should schedule in the future (not including teams that are already scheduled for upcoming seasons).

Penn State

Every time I post on social media asking who Notre Dame fans would like to schedule a “Home and Home” series with, the Penn State Nittany Lions are the overwhelming favorite.

A large portion of the Irish fanbase recalls the great matchups in the 1980s and 1990s between these schools. Also, Beaver Stadium provides one of the best environments in college football, and Notre Dame would receive their yearly “white out” game.

A few years back, I wrote an article that included Penn State as one of the “Top 10 Greatest Rivalries in Notre Dame Football History.”


Notre Dame and LSU have faced off three times since 2007, including some instant classics for the Irish at the Music City Bowl and Citrus Bowl. This would have been a great matchup before the coaching change a few years ago, and now that Brian Kelly left for Baton Rouge, this showdown would be of epic proportions.

The last time the Fighting Irish and Tigers played a Home & Home Series was in 1997 (Baton Rouge) and 1998 (South Bend).


These two programs have not met since 1982 in Eugene, Oregon, and the Ducks have not visited South Bend since 1976. There is no history between these two schools, but they are two of the top brands in college football.

No one can deny that the Oregon Ducks have some of the best uniforms and apparel in college football, but the Fighting Irish are near the top of the list as well. Oregon has played in two national championships this century, and a showdown between these high-profile schools would garner national attention.


If any fan base could fill up the Rose Bowl Stadium, it would be Notre Dame fans. Since the Fighting Irish had to play their Rose Bowl matchup with Alabama in Arlington, Texas, instead of Pasadena, California, I believe that Pete Bevacqua should schedule the Bruins.

Notre Dame last faced UCLA in 2006 (South Bend) and 2007 (Pasadena). Unfortunately, the Irish were 0-5 when they played at the Rose Bowl Stadium that year, and the atmosphere is nothing like it would be if these programs faced off this fall. Under Chip Kelly, the Bruins have been ranked the past several seasons and this could strengthen the Irish schedule.


A year ago, this matchup would not have made the list. However, with the addition of Deion Sanders as Head Coach, a Notre Dame Colorado showdown would undoubtedly be one of the most highly anticipated games of the year.

The older generation of Irish fans certainly wants to beat Colorado after the loss in the 1991 Orange Bowl. The last time the Fighting Irish visited Boulder was in 1983, and the last trip to South Bend for the Buffalo was 1984.


With all the football history accumulated between Notre Dame and Auburn, these schools have yet to meet on the gridiron. The Fighting Irish have faced countless SEC opponents since the turn of this century, but not the Tigers.

Auburn seems to turn over coaches faster than any program in the country and now they have brought back Hugh Freeze to the SEC. The Tigers are always one of the most popular choices amongst Irish fans to schedule in the future.


A rematch with the Cincinnati Bearcats would be fantastic. Unlike most schools on this list, Notre Dame recently squared off with Cincinnati. After the Irish lost in South Bend to the best Cincinnati team in program history, I know fans are eager for a rematch.

The only concern would be Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. It is a great venue and place to watch college football, but it only supports 41,000 spectators. Notre Dame and Cincinnati could potentially play at Paycor Stadium down the street, home of the Cincinnati Bengals.


Notre Dame and TCU have only met once, at Notre Dame Stadium where the Irish were victorious 21 to 0. The Horned Frogs have one of the newer venues in college football, located in Fort Worth, Texas.

Coming off a national championship appearance, I believe this would be a great road trip and recruiting “tie-in” for the state of Texas.


These two programs squared off in South Bend in 1925 (Irish won 41 to 0) and, most recently, in 1998 (Irish won 27 to 3). Baylor has a modern football stadium and has had success the past decade under various head coaches.

Ironically Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman ran into Chip Gaines and Joana Gaines at the White House a few months back, and they undoubtedly would be amped up for this showdown as two of the biggest Baylor Bear supporters.

Ole Miss

Lane Kiffin is one of the most polarizing figures in college football. At one point I could not stand Coach Kiffin, but I have grown to like his sense of humor and dynamic offenses. For those reasons, I believe this would be a fun matchup.

Ole Miss has one of the best tailgates in the country known as “The Grove”, that is known for a sea of tailgate tents in school colors. These teams have met twice, 1997 in Jackson, Mississippi (Ole Miss won 20 to 13) and in South Bend in 1985 (Irish won 37 to 14).

Final Thoughts

The College Football Playoffs will expand to a 12-team format beginning in 2024. According to the new structure, since the Fighting Irish are not in a conference, they would not be eligible for a postseason bye. But, with Notre Dame’s new athletic director taking over, we will see if the NCAA stands by that ruling.

Marcus Freeman must continue to fill the schedule with top-tier opponents, like the program always has. In the past, only an undefeated or one-loss Notre Dame team could make the playoffs. Now, the Irish can suffer multiple losses and still make the postseason (ideally no losses).

I am not arguing whether the new playoff format is better or worse for college football, but it will still benefit Notre Dame to play tougher opponents. Programs like the ones I have mentioned above will not only be entertaining for college football fans but will help reinforce the Notre Dame Football schedule and prepare them for postseason matchups.

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One Comment

  1. Bringing my son and daughter to the Tennessee st game we love notre dame football, 10 hour drive, but we’ll worth it to hear trumpets under the dome.GO IRISH

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