Notre Dame football prides itself on being an independent. For non-Notre Dame fans, the fact that the Fighting Irish don’t play a regular conference schedule and simply refuse to do so is without question one of the most annoying things in all of sports. Notre Dame has the ability to make its own schedule as it pleases simply due to its name and independent TV deal it has with NBC.
It’s just always felt like a cop-out for Notre Dame to remain independent tied to the likes of BYU, Army, UMass, and other seemingly irrelevant college football teams. Plus, other sports at the school are part of the ACC, but the football team simply refuses to make that move despite contractually agreeing to schedule five ACC opponents per season. The football program just has to hold onto that independent tag to be different.
All it took was a global pandemic to force Notre Dame’s hand, however, as things are changing for the 2020 college football season with the Irish set to join the ACC this year. While the school will undoubtedly not use the phrasing of ‘we’ve joined the ACC,’ Notre Dame is set to play 10 games against ACC opponents and one non-conference game in 2020 if public health guidance allows it. The Irish are also eligible to play in the ACC Championship game at the end of the season.
If for some reason you didn’t think Notre Dame was clinging to its independence to be different and for historical context, here’s what Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick had to say about the move to the ACC:
“In the historical context it is a big deal,” he said according to ESPN. “It also reflects the great opportunity that our working relationship with the ACC presented under these circumstances. Very appreciative of commissioner Swofford and my colleagues for giving us this opportunity in the historical context it is. It is very significant.”
We get it, Notre Dame is a ‘historic program.’
Somehow, the fact that Notre Dame football will actually be a part of a conference this season makes things even more infuriating, maybe it has to do with the fact that the school was practically forced to do so due to a virus impacting the entire planet.
Nevertheless, this is totally Notre Dame’s year, Brian Kelly will finally learn how to coach in pressure-packed situations and the Irish will go unbeaten en route to a national title.
Or, probably not.