According to the Hartford Courant, Notre Dame is close to signing a deal with UConn for a 10 game series starting in 2009. The series would include 5 games at Notre Dame Stadium and then 5 split up between Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. None of the games will be played at UConn’s home field, Rentschler Field, which can only hold 40,000 people.
So far, it seems some UConn folk are not too thrilled about the prospect of not having a single game on their home field.
The thought of playing Notre Dame is exciting, but the eventual announcement of this series figures to get a mixed reaction in Connecticut. And we may get a taste of that as early as Wednesday when Notre Dame plays UConn in basketball. That’s why the risk must pay off for the UConn athletic department. This better work, because Hathaway has bent over so far for Notre Dame he can see Jimmy Hoffa’s body buried in the Meadowlands end zone.
UConn Division 1A Season Records
Year Records 2002 6-6 2003 9-3 2004 8-4 2005 5-6 2006 4-8 2007 9-4
The way it was explained to me, Gillette Stadium (tentatively 2013, 2017, 2020) or the new Giants Stadium (tentatively 2015, 2019) will be rented by UConn and used as an ordinary home game. There will be a limited visitors allotment of tickets going to Notre Dame. UConn’s season ticket holders would get the game as part of their package and attempts would be made to satisfy UConn fans first. There better not be shenanigans. There better not be some sudden price surge the way Lew Perkins tried with the UMass-UConn basketball debacle. There better not be a hundred hidden details. If ever we need to keep a close eye on the details, it’s this deal.
And let’s be honest, how many fans will be pulling for UConn at the Meadowlands? Even Gillette would be split, right? They figure to be neutral-site games at best. Notre Dame will satisfy its East Coast fans, get exposure in two huge media markets, zero in on a big recruiting target and have zero pressure to join the Big East. Notre Dame figures to be delighted.
The upside for UConn is national TV exposure with potential recruiting gains. For a young program, the argument is that it will be worth it. Considering half the state can get to Giants Stadium and the other half can get to Foxborough fairly easily, the inconvenience may not be so bad. We’ll see.
It’s quite understandable for UConn fans to be upset about not having a single one of these games as a true home game. Both Giants Stadium and Gillette Stadium will most likely be filled with more Notre Dame fans than UConn fans. Along the same lines, Notre Dame has never played Navy at their home field in Annapolis either.
From ND’s perspective, this is a pretty good deal. It puts the Irish in two NFL Stadiums five times in 10 years in two pretty big markets against an up and coming team. Some people will no doubt bitch and moan about it because complaining about the schedule has been a hot topic across all of the ND boards over the last few weeks, but if UConn continues to improve as they’ve been, this could be a pretty nice little series.
The Huskies were 9-4 this year with a loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl to Wake Forest. They were also taken to the woodshed by West Virginia in 66-21 loss in Morgantown. They were 8-0 at home, however, which could explain why the author of the previously quoted article was so upset about not having a single game against the Irish as a true home game.
Last summer’s transfer of Zach Frazer to UConn will undoubtedly add a little flair to this series in 2009 and 2010 if it does indeed go down as is being reported.