When Notre Dame travels to San Antonio, Texas in November to take on Army, it will mark the eighth straight season in which the Irish have traveled to another city to “host” a home game in the Shamrock Series. According to ESPN, Jack Swarbrick stated the Irish won’t make it nine years in a row in 2017 but are planning on adding the series back in future years.
“In all likelihood we will not do one in ’17, because that’s the opening of the Crossroads and we want to maximize the number of home games, but we anticipate doing it in subsequent years,” Swarbrick said. “It’s been phenomenal. We have a lot of people who annually target that game and make it one where they get together with former classmates and really plan their years around it. It’s been good.”
While Swarbrick used the official launch of the Campus Crossroads project and maximizing exposure to it as the reason for skipping the off-site game, one has to wonder if the quality of the opponent Notre Dame has been attracting lately for the Shamrock Series and Notre Dame’s need to build a strong playoff resume.
Since inception in 2009, Notre Dame has not been able to attract many marque opponents outside of Miami in 2012 and Arizona State in 2013.
Notre Dame Shamrock Series Games
- 2009: vs. Washington State – Alamodome – San Antonio, Texas
- 2010: vs. Army – Yankee Stadium – New York
- 2011: vs Maryland – Fedex Field – Washington, DC
- 2012: vs. Miami – Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
- 2013: vs. Arizona State – Cowboys Stadium – Dallas, Texas
- 2014: vs. Purdue – Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
- 2015: vs Boston College – Fenway Park – Boston, Massachusetts
- 2016: vs. Army – Alamodome – San Antonio, Texas
Notre Dame has played in some great venues along the way – especially Fenway Park last year – but the games themselves have not been able to drum up much interest. Given Notre Dame’s need to impress the playoff committee with their resume of 12 games versus other schools’ 13 (with conference championship games included), one has to wonder if this played into Notre Dame’s thinking here as they currently have one open date left on the 2017 schedule.
It will be interesting to see if the series does return in 2017 as it has given Notre Dame more exposure in Texas where they had not played in years before traveling to the Lone Star State in 2009 and 2013. Outside of Texas though, the areas Notre Dame has traveled to have not been areas they have traditionally struggled to recruit.
One very important element Swarbrick did not address – or wasn’t asked – was whether or not the Irish will still done an alternative uniform in 2017 for a home game. Fans and recruits have routinely raved about some of the Shamrock Series uniforms over the last few years and as a recruiting tool, the “trendy” uniforms have been a hit.