While Notre Dame is just hours away now from kicking off Spring Football 2015, athletic director Jack Swarbrick is busy locking down opponents for future Notre Dame schedules. On Monday we learned that Notre Dame and Ball State will be squaring off for the first time ever in 2018 when the Cardinals travel to Notre Dame Stadium on September 8.
Notre Dame’s future schedules don’t offer a lot of flexibility right now with the 5 game ACC agreement in addition to its traditional rivals, but with open spots remaining, Swarbrick is doing a good job of closing out some future schedules with intelligent scheduling.
Adding a MAC opponent like Ball State won’t get the folks at NBC too excited and won’t have too many fans rearranging their schedules to make the trip to Notre Dame, but it’s a pretty interesting matchup for the Irish considering they have never played the in-state program. Ball State has also been a pretty solid program over the last few years giving the Irish a quality opponent without having to schedule a Northwest Southern Eastern State school like some other programs.
Through a statement released by Ball State, head coach Pete Lembo expressed his excited to having Notre Dame on his team’s schedule in 2018.
“The opportunity to play one of the most storied programs in college football in a historic stadium will be very special for our student-athletes and everyone else associated with Ball State football.”
With Ball State on the schedule, Notre Dame now has seven game dates confirmed and 10 opponents locked down. Notre Dame will play ACC foes Florida State, Pitt, and Syracuse at home will traveling to Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. In addition, Notre Dame will host Stanford and travel to Navy and USC.
Aside from Ball State being a fellow Indiana university, there is another connection between the two schools. Former Notre Dame director of football media relations Brian Hardin is currently deputy athletic director at Ball State.