This Saturday could be the last time we see Boston College and Notre Dame play for a while.
The schools were scheduled to take a two-year break in their series in 2013 and 2014, only to resume playing with another four games set for 2015-16 and 2018-19.
But now that Notre Dame has formed a five-game scheduling partnership with the ACC, it seems pretty clear all four of the contracted games remaining will not be played. And it seems clear this will no longer be an annual series, since the ACC wants Notre Dame to play each league school once in three-year period.
In fact, there is no telling when the "Holy War" will be played again. The hope is for the Notre Dame-ACC scheduling partnership to begin in 2014, but no word yet on the first five teams on deck for the Irish.
Boston College coach Frank Spaziani reiterated Wednesday that he would like the series to continue on an annual basis. Boston College and Notre Dame are the only two Catholic schools playing FBS football, and have played nearly every year between 1992-2011. There was one two-year break between 2005-06 as the Eagles transitioned into the ACC.
"It’s a good rivalry for us and I believe it’s a good rivalry for Notre Dame," Spaziani said Wednesday. "I think we should be playing each other every year. We have a lot of things in common, and lately it’s been competitive, so there’s your rivalry."
Indeed, last season Notre Dame struggled to beat the Eagles, recovering an onside kick late to preserve a 16-14 win. Notre Dame has won three straight but before that, Boston College had won six straight in the series. This is also a "trophy" game, but not your average garden variety trophy game.
Two trophies are handed out to the winner. The first is the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl, which honors the shared history between the programs. Leahy started his coaching career at Boston College and later coached at Notre Dame. The second trophy is the Ireland Trophy, presented by the opposing school’s student government. Created in 1994, the Ireland Trophy is shaped exactly like the country and represents the rich Irish history the universities share.
“Looking at it on the surface, we should be playing each other," Spaziani said. "It makes sense. There’s a lot of other factors that go into it. Making sense isn’t always the thing that works out."