Notre Dame Football: North Carolina Tar Heels

UA Day 1: Best sights and sounds

December, 29, 2014
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Several players made incredible plays on Day 1 of the Under Armour All-America game practices. Byron Cowart had several sacks, quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Deondre Francois and Brandon Wimbush all made impressive throws, and Notre Dame commit Shaun Crawford had a big pass breakup. Here’s a closer look at some of the top plays caught on camera.

Notre Dame pledge Shaun Crawford with nearly perfect technique on a pass breakup of a pass intended for George Campbell.

Quarterback Kyler Murray with a beautiful touchdown pass.

George Campbell coming down with the catch.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins against Alabama recruit Richie Petitbon.

Georgia recruit Terry Godwin makes a catch against Iman Marshall.

Quarterback Deondre Francois with a nice touchdown pass over the middle.

UNC OL pledge Tommy Hatton winning a battle against the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Terry Beckner Jr.

Oregon recruit Canton Kaumatule with a great spin move to win his one-on-one battle.

Byron Cowart with a nice move on Drew Richmond for the sack of Blake Barnett.

South Carolina commit Arden Key with the tackle.

Brandon Wimbush with a nice touch pass.

Notre Dame and the ACC announced their playing dates Tuesday through 2025, which rounds out the average of five league opponents a year for the Irish for 12 years.

"The football partnership between the ACC and Notre Dame is a terrific enhancement for all parties," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a release. "Notre Dame not only adds to our league's already highly ambitious schedules, it also provides the opportunity for almost all of our student-athletes to play against Notre Dame during their careers. When you add in the excitement that it brings to our fans, there's no question that this partnership is significant."

Dates were finalized through 2019, with opponents and sites set up for the six years after that. The full 2015 and 2016 schedules had already been announced last December, when this season's schedule -- the first of the ACC football agreement for Notre Dame -- was released.

"Nine additional seasons of games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents again adds both variety and quality to future University of Notre Dame football schedules," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a release. "Over those nine years, four ACC programs that have never played in Notre Dame Stadium (Louisville, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech) will come to South Bend, and two others that have only played at Notre Dame one time (Wake Forest and Clemson) also will travel to our campus.

"On the other side of the coin, during that period we will take our team to four ACC campuses at which Notre Dame never has played football (Louisville, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech), plus three others (Clemson, Duke and Wake Forest) where our team has played only once."

Some notes on the Irish's future schedules:
  • Notre Dame will get its shot at redemption against Florida State in four years, when the Seminoles visit South Bend on Nov. 10, 2018 -- three days shy of the 25th anniversary of the 1993 "Game of the Century" between these two. The Irish will return to Tallahassee on Sept. 6, 2021, Labor Day, before the Noles go back to Notre Dame Stadium sometime in 2024.
  • That holiday date at FSU is actually the second of two Labor Day road games for the Irish, who travel to Louisville on Sept. 2 (Labor Day) in 2019. As of now, it does not look like Notre Dame will play any Thursday night games.
  • That 2019 opener at Louisville is the first of a strenuous slate of road games for the Irish in 2019: They also go to Georgia (Sept. 21), Georgia Tech (Oct. 19) and Duke (Nov. 9). They are also expected to travel to Stanford that year, since it is an odd-number year, though no official date has been set. You can bet the Irish staff will point out this year to Peach State recruits, who will get a pair of trips back to their home state in a span of a month.
  • Notre Dame gets six ACC games in 2019 and 2023, while playing just four in 2022 and 2024. The Irish, of course, have just four ACC games this year, but will play six next season.
  • Notre Dame will play seven of the ACC's 14 teams in consecutive years: Miami in 2016 and 2017 and 2024 and 2025; NC State in 2016 and 2017; Wake Forest in 2017 and 2018; Virginia Tech in 2018 and 2019; Duke in 2019 and 2020; UNC in 2021 and 2022; Clemson in 2022 and 2023.
  • There remains no clarity on Notre Dame's Shamrock Series game -- in which it moves a home game off-site to a metropolitan area -- beyond 2016, when it faces Army in San Antonio. Next year's game against BC is at Fenway Park.
  • Not pictured in the graphic (and not-ACC related): As of this past summer, Notre Dame and Michigan State had a verbal agreement for two games in the 2020s, though they have said they may look at a single neutral-site contest.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Nearly two years ago, three days before the biggest game of his life, the BCS National Championship against Alabama, Everett Golson let the nation in on a little secret.

"Obviously basketball is my love, that's what I love," Golson said down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, "But my primary right now is football. I'd like to say I would like to have the chance of playing basketball someday [in South Bend]. But like I said, football is my primary, and what I'm focused on right now is the national championship."

"He's pretty good at his hobby, this being his hobby," then-Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin added. "Primary love basketball is just what he does on the side, he's actually pretty decent at."

Everett Golson
Courtesy of DeAndre' ScottEverett Golson (shooting) played point guard in high school, helping his squad at Myrtle Beach High win an AAA state title.
How decent? Golson was at the very least a Division I talent, according to those who coached him at the prep level. Notre Dame's redshirt junior quarterback is on the Heisman Trophy short list as he readies the No. 6 Irish for a date Saturday with North Carolina. A Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, native, Golson had initially pledged to the Tar Heels' basketball program in February 2010. He had spoken with legendary coach Roy Williams, and there was a strong possibility that he would have spent his winters in Chapel Hill on the hardwood, before the football team's NCAA investigation and a trip to Notre Dame eventually forced him to flip his commitment.

Hoops aspirations never materialized with the Irish, though things have worked out pretty well for the man who, with a 15-1 career record as a starter, boasts the highest win percentage of any quarterback in Irish history (.9375).

"If he was doing something else right now other than quarterbacking a top-[six] team, I probably would have been disappointed, just because the kid was so, so talented, such a good athlete at basketball. I knew he could've been a Division I kid," former Myrtle Beach High hoops coach DeAndre Scott said. "But to see him be able to do the things he's doing at football -- which at the time, I'll be honest with you, when he was a freshman or sophomore, he was a kid that really didn't like football nearly as much. But people who were around knew the things he could do on the football field were just unreal in comparison to where he was as a basketball player at that time."

Golson was, naturally, a point guard. He began with a suspect jump shot, Scott said, and the perfectionist in the player made for some early growing pains, as he would get too down on himself after misses. Still, as a freshman he rose to a starting role down the season's stretch, helping lift Myrtle Beach to a state title. He played one more season for Scott, then another for new coach Craig Martin, before his early enrollment at Notre Dame cost him his senior hoops season.

"He was a really talented kid, good athlete," Scott said. "I always thought he was more of a pass-first point guard, a guy who can really see the floor. He liked getting other guys involved, but he was such a good athlete. He could still score the basketball for you."

During the Beach Ball Classic during Golson's sophomore year, he scored 16 in an eight-point loss to a Martin Luther King (Calif.) team that was led by Kawhi Leonard, the MVP of this past June's NBA Finals. The summer before his senior year, Golson traveled around the country to various quarterback camps before returning to point guard on his AAU team, the South Carolina Ravens, all the way to the 17 and under national title game, before falling to the Arkansas Wings.

The Ravens' roster featured starters such as South Carolina tight end Jerell Adams and Clemson hoops guard Damarcus Harrison, and it had UNC forward Brice Johnson and Seton Hall forward Rashed Anthony coming off the bench.

"I probably had the best NFL team that was playing basketball," Ravens founder and coach Dion Bethea quipped.

While Golson was on a redshirt his first year at Notre Dame, the basketball bug bit, and coach Brian Kelly said that the staff had to rein that itch in.

"I think that he still has a love for the game," Kelly said Tuesday. "But I think that now has changed because of his focus on being the quarterback here. But no, in his first year here, he was a handful. He always wanted to go out and play a little basketball."

Golson has said that he would at times decompress by shooting around some with Martin, his position coach, who is now the head coach at Miami (Ohio).
His hoops exploits may be a thing of the past, but the stories still carry some weight around campus and in his locker room.

"I haven't played basketball with him yet but I've heard myths, legends," said Irish receiver Corey Robinson, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson. "He's an incredible basketball player, from my understanding. But I've never played with him. I'm not good enough. He's on another level."
Another double dip? Why not ...

Week 13 schedule

Thursday, Nov. 20
  • North Carolina at Duke, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 22
  • Boston College at Florida State
  • Virginia Tech at Wake Forest
  • Syracuse at Pitt
  • Georgia State at Clemson
  • Miami at Virginia
  • Louisville at Notre Dame
Our pick: North Carolina at Duke AND Louisville at Notre Dame

Why you should come along: Another Thursday night game presents another opportunity for us to take in multiple games in a weekend ... and this one should be particularly good. Two of the Coastal Division's expected title contenders square off, and plenty will be on the line. Duke has won the last two matchups against its rival down Tobacco Road, the first time the Blue Devils have posted a winning streak against North Carolina since 1987-89. Both of Duke's wins the previous two years were absolute thrillers, as it clinched bowl-eligibility with the win in 2012 and picked off the Tar Heels late on the road in last season's regular-season finale, clinching win No. 10, the division crown and stopping the Tar Heels' five-game winning streak in the process.

On Saturday, we'll visit Touchdown Jesus in South Bend, Ind., to check out Notre Dame Stadium's new FieldTurf and watch Louisville and the Irish run all over it on Senior Day. This is the ACC's fourth and final game of the season against Notre Dame, and it might be our best chance to check out the Golden Dome in the first year of this scheduling agreement, which I highly recommend you do if the chance presents itself. The Irish enter 2014 with plenty of questions on defense after suffering major personnel losses, but they welcome back quarterback Everett Golson, who went undefeated during his only regular season under center, in 2012. Golson, fresh off a suspension and an autumn spent working out with George Whitfield Jr., should have the Irish offense looking more like the one his coach, Brian Kelly, had at Cincinnati. And we all know the fireworks that a Bobby Petrino offense is capable of putting on display. These coaches missed each other by a year in the Keg of Nails rivalry in the old Big East. The late-fall weather elements could try to slow these two teams down, but I'll take my chances. (Especially if it means one last postgame meal at Parisi's, just off the south end of campus.)
With nonconference schedules out of the way completely for the most part, this begins the part of the schedule where the contenders and pretenders are separated.

Week 7 schedule

Saturday, Oct. 11
  • Duke at Georgia Tech
  • Boston College at NC State
  • Florida State at Syracuse
  • Louisville at Clemson
  • Cincinnati at Miami
  • North Carolina at Notre Dame
Our pick: North Carolina at Notre Dame

Why you should come along: The Tar Heels are being pegged as a team that could contend for an ACC championship despite coming off a 7-6 season. There is a vibe around Chapel Hill that coach Larry Fedora has the program heading in the right direction, and this season, his third at UNC, is when the Heels will begin its ascension toward the top of the league.

While the game against Notre Dame is not a conference game, it is the final contest in a three-game stretch that will be the Heels' toughest all season. The Heels travel to Clemson, host Virginia Tech and then play at Notre Dame three consecutive Saturdays, and winning two of those three will be pivotal. Ideally, the Heels would like to win the two ACC games if they were to choose two, but a victory at Notre Dame would give them significant momentum through the rest of the season. The schedule sets up nicely for UNC following the Notre Dame game, and they could coast into Duke for a Thursday night showdown Nov. 20 on a five-game winning streak if they upset the Irish.

It would also be a major statement game for Fedora, who is in the process of shutting down the state's borders and drawing in the top homegrown talent. The Heels are doing well with in-state recruits, considering the sanctions Fedora dealt with, but North Carolina is loaded with elite prospects and UNC needs to land more of them. A nationally televised victory over Notre Dame, which nearly plucked prized 2014 recruit Elijah Hood from the Heels during the last recruiting cycle, would resonate with the recruits the SEC has made a habit of poaching recently.
The state of Georgia is loaded in both the 2015 and 2016 classes.

In the 2015 class, the linebacker position is one of strength, as a number of rangy, athletic prospects -- highlighted by ESPN 300 prospects Adonis Thomas and Roquan Smith -- are available.

Five schools made the final cut on Thursday night for Thomas, one of the nation's top prospects.

Florida has Florida State. Georgia has Georgia Tech. Kentucky has Louisville. And, of course, South Carolina has Clemson.

When it comes to the new SEC scheduling format starting in 2016, those four schools are already on board. Their annual rivalry games fulfill the league’s forthcoming requirement for a yearly nonconference game against an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 school.

But for the rest of the teams around the league, there’s a void.

Sure, they can go year to year and rotate in nonconference opponents. But where’s the fun in that? Let’s create some new rivalries, and in the case of some programs, reignite old ones.

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops and Nick Saban
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertThe spectacular salaries of college football coaches such as Bob Stoops, left, and Nick Saban are generated mostly by the labor of unpaid workers.
Alabama-Oklahoma: If FSU wasn’t already taken, the Noles would have been a perfect fit. The physical and philosophical proximity between programs is obvious. But looking elsewhere, Oklahoma might be a fun matchup. The Sugar Bowl has already created tons of tension on both sides with Sooners coaches delighting in calling out Nick Saban and the SEC.

Arkansas-Baylor: Call it a throwback to the old Southwest Conference. Arkansas, which didn’t join the SEC until 1992, has played more games against Baylor (69) than any school in its current conference. On top of that, the differences between Bret Bielema’s physical style and Art Briles’ free-flowing offensive scheme would be a joy to watch.

Auburn-Oregon: Recent history and playing styles dictates this matchup. Not only do we get a rematch of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, but it pits offenses that live to go fast. Maybe it could be a two-hand touch game in which whoever reaches 100 points first wins.

LSU-Notre Dame: We couldn’t make a list of nonconference matchups and leave Notre Dame off, could we? Pitting the Golden Domers against an SEC program would be appointment viewing. Make that program LSU and the opposing coach Les Miles, and television networks will scratch each other's eyes out to get the game.

Mississippi State-Texas Tech: The Bulldogs have shied away from high profile nonconference games in the past, loading up on the likes of Memphis, UAB and South Alabama. Well, it’s time to infuse a little spice into the schedule. Kliff Kingsbury is too cool to keep out of the SEC. His Red Raiders would be a good matchup with Mississippi State, which faced Texas Tech seven times from 1953-70.

Missouri-Kansas: Does this one really need to be explained? The Border War should have never gone away in the first place. Now is the perfect opportunity to save face and bring back a rivalry that goes all the way back to 1891.

Ole Miss-Miami: We’ve got to get ‘The U’ involved. Miami and Ole Miss have already played a few times in their history, with the Rebs holding a 2-1 series lead. But bigger than that, it would get the SEC back into South Florida on a permanent basis because Miami and Florida don’t have the common sense to do that already.

Tennessee-North Carolina: Even if most people don’t remember it, there’s history there. Tennessee and UNC have played 29 times, with the Vols holding a 20-8-1 advantage. Plus, even if your memory is short, you should recall the double overtime Music City Bowl from 2010 between the schools. If they can re-create that just once, it would make the rivalry worth it.

Texas A&M-Texas: See Missouri-Kansas. Don’t let conference affiliations ruin great rivalries. Texas A&M-Texas should have never been shelved in the first place. And while the UT administration might not see a reason to bring it back -- nor Texas A&M's leadership, for that matter -- surely both fan bases do.

Vanderbilt-Duke:Call it a private school showdown. The proximity is reasonable, the fan bases similar, and the rivalry could easily extend to the hard court. Plus, have you seen Derek Mason’s nonconference schedule this year? It needs help.

ACC announces 2014 schedule

January, 22, 2014
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The 2014 ACC schedule was released Wednesday, featuring Louisville’s inaugural season in the conference, the first year of the ACC’s partnership with Notre Dame, one of the nation’s toughest nonconference schedules and a weekend of rivalry games to end the regular season.

Defending national champion Florida State will start the first season of the College Football Playoff on Aug. 30 at Cowboys Stadium, where the Seminoles will face Oklahoma State in the sixth annual Cowboys Classic. It also happens to be the site of the final game of the season, as Arlington, Texas, is where the new College Football Playoff will crown its first champion on Jan. 12, 2015.

Some of the ACC schedule's highlights include:
  • Miami will travel to Louisville on Labor Day night.
  • Notre Dame will play North Carolina, Syracuse, Louisville and Florida State.
  • Week 1 also includes Clemson at Georgia and UCLA at Virginia.
  • Five nationally televised Thursday night games, including Virginia Tech at Pitt (Oct. 16); Miami at Virginia Tech (Oct. 23); Florida State at Louisville (Oct. 30); and Clemson at Wake Forest (Nov. 6). The final 2014 ACC Thursday night contest on ESPN will have North Carolina traveling to Duke on Nov. 20.
  • Three nationally televised Friday night games, including Virginia Tech hosting Virginia (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28. The Hokies and Cavaliers previously played on Thanksgiving Friday in 1996. Boston College will also host Pitt (ESPN or ESPN2) on Sept. 5 and Louisville will play at Syracuse (ESPN or ESPN2) on Oct. 3.
  • ACC teams will play nine games against teams from the final 2014 Associated Press poll (No. 4 South Carolina, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 16 UCLA, No. 17 Oklahoma State, No. 19 USC and No. 20 Notre Dame).

Here's what we like about this schedule, aside from the fact it came out unusually early this year: great rivalries to end the season (including Louisville-Kentucky), another Labor Day matchup and a strong nonconference lineup that includes the likes of Ohio State, South Carolina and UCLA. We're going to break it all down -- lots -- between now and Aug. 30, so stay tuned.

ACC, Notre Dame announce future dates

December, 20, 2013
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The ACC and Notre Dame announced future dates for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons, highlighted by an Irish-Boston College matchup in 2015 at Fenway Park as part of the Shamrock Series.

The joint announcement, made Friday, is part of the scheduling agreement Notre Dame made with the ACC when it decided to join the league in all sports but football. Because of previous schedule commitments, Notre Dame will face four ACC teams in 2014. Wake Forest, initially scheduled to play Notre Dame in 2014, will now face the Irish in 2015 -- giving Notre Dame six ACC games.

Beginning in 2016, Notre Dame will play five ACC teams each year and alternate between playing three home and two away games one year, with two home and three away games the next. BC announced separately it will host Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium in 2017. Below is a look at the Irish's future ACC opponents over the next three years, with Notre Dame as the home team.


2014

Sept. 27 at Syracuse (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)

Oct. 11 North Carolina

Oct. 18 at Florida State

Nov. 22 Louisville

2015

Sept. 12 at Virginia

Sept. 19 Georgia Tech

Oct. 3 at Clemson

Nov. 7 at Pitt

Nov. 14 Wake Forest

Nov. 21 Boston College (Fenway Park, Boston)

2016

Sept. 24 Duke

Oct. 1 at Syracuse (MetLife Stadium, E. Rutherford, N.J.)

Oct. 8 at NC State

Oct. 29 Miami

Nov. 19 Virginia Tech

ESPN Jr 300 OLB picks up three offers 

December, 8, 2013
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With college coaches out and about visiting schools and prospects, a number of players in the 2015 class from the Atlanta area have seen their stock quickly rise. One of those is junior Adonis Thomas (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett).

The 6-foot-4, 212-pound outside linebacker is the No. 207-ranked prospect in the ESPN Junior 300 and has seen his stock skyrocket in December with offers from some heavy hitters nationally.


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Irish still good without RB Hood 

August, 20, 2013
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No coaching staff wants to lose its top commitment, and running back is a position where a team often needs two or even three quality players at the spot.

However, if Notre Dame is going to lose its top player in the 2014 class, running back is the one position where the Fighting Irish can afford to take a hit. The Irish lost RB Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic), No. 47 in the ESPN 300, who decommitted Tuesday, according to 247Sports.com.

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ACC Official Visit: Irish eyes are smiling

June, 13, 2013
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Jared Shanker breaks down QB DeShone Kizer's commitment to Notre Dame, RB Shai McKenzie's ACC visits this weekend, DT Daniel Cage's top four and the recent additions to North Carolina's class.

Notre Dame mailblog

May, 10, 2013
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What's happening?

Brad from Benton, Ky., writes: Matt- Any word on Tuitt's weight gain? During the Spring Game his physical appearance as opposed to last season was very bad. I'm just hoping it doesn't slow him down and make him less of the great end that he is. Thanks!

Matt Fortuna: Brad, in short, I wouldn't worry about it. Stephon Tuitt missed the first half of spring ball recovering from an offseason operation to repair a sports hernia that bothered him late last season, which, from personal experience as a child, I can confirm severely restricts your movements. (Even if you don't have a whole lot of athletic tools in the arsenal, like yours truly.)



Tyler Kelly from Jacksonville, N.C., writes: Where do you think Notre Dame will rank in the pre-season polls and how do you think they will finish?

Matt Fortuna: Tyler, it's never too early, is it? Based on some of the early post-spring indications (our Mark Schlabach has the Irish 10th, SI.com's Andy Staples has them fifth, CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm has them slotted for the Orange Bowl), I'd expect this to definitely be a preseason top-10 team, maybe even a top-five. I'm not about to make a record prediction more than three months before the first ball of the season is kicked off, but I do think this team has the potential to be better than the 2012 team, even if the record at season's end may not indicate it.



Sam from Dallas writes: How will joining the ACC in 2014 affect the scheduling for the four open dates on their schedule going forward? I am taking into consideration the five ACC games and the three games with USC, Stanford and Navy to fill eight of the twelve slots. Would you expect ND to play at least three if not all four of those other games at home each year or possibly a neutral site game? Looking ahead do you see them scheduling home & home with teams like Texas in the future? It may be difficult to guarantee some teams home and home arrangements. Thnx.

Matt Fortuna: Sam, there are plenty of logistical issues with scheduling moving forward, some of which we covered this morning in conjunction with Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett. The Shamrock Series will continue, but does that become a ninth game or, in some cases, will an ACC game get to be used for that? I think the home/road configuration will depend on the year, as the Irish get three ACC home games one year and two the next. Look at 2014, for example: Notre Dame gets Louisville, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Stanford at home; it faces Florida State, Syracuse (in East Rutherford, N.J.), Navy (in Landover, Md.) and USC on the road. There are also home games scheduled for Rice, Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern, and road ones at Temple and Arizona State. That's 14 total games, and the only one I can say will stay on for certain among the second group is Michigan, as that will be the final matchup between the Wolverines and the Irish for the foreseeable future. So there are nine games. I would guess that Purdue stays on for that season, as the contract for that game runs through the 2014 season, two years before the Big Ten implements a nine-game conference schedule and makes that series more difficult to schedule. As for the rest, the Rice game is a one-game deal, the ASU series is seemingly up in the air, the Northwestern deal is part of a home-and-home that will be returned to Evanston, Ill., in 2018 and Temple is part of a three-game series that starts in 2013 at Notre Dame, continues in 2014 in Philadelphia and returns to Notre Dame in 2017.
How many times have you heard fans and coaches shaking their fists at the scheduling gods whenever a new conference slate is announced?

Well, my friends, Friday's Notre Dame-ACC scheduling announcement should not be one of those times. Both the Irish and the league should be applauded for the way they handled an often maddening process to provide a win for all parties involved.

The schedules for 2014, 2015 and 2016 are perfectly balanced. Each season features one major high-profile game with national implications. Simply put, it was a wise move to have the Irish play Florida State in 2014, Clemson in 2015 and Miami Hurricanes in 2016.

Both the Seminoles and Tigers have elevated themselves back into the national spotlight and appear to be annual Top 25 programs again. Both the Irish-Noles and Irish-Canes rivalries are classics with huge national interest (even if the Miami game last season was decidedly one-sided).

In addition to those games, Louisville snagged a huge spot in Year One of the three-year rotation -- potentially adding two more Top 25 teams onto the Irish schedule from the ACC. Not a bad way for the Cardinals to start off their first year in a new league, especially with the subpar nonconference slate they have for 2013.

As for some of the games that had already been on the Irish schedule, Notre Dame was able to keep its two-game series with Syracuse intact. The Orange are actually the only one of the 14 ACC teams that will play Notre Dame twice in this three-year cycle. But, as expected, Pitt and BC will lose games previously set.

Pitt -- the ACC team that has played the Irish the most with 68 previous appearances -- remains on the schedule for 2015. That means its games against Notre Dame for 2014 and 2016 are off. Pitt will play Delaware, FIU, Akron and Iowa in nonconference in 2014.

Boston College remains on the schedule for 2015 as well. That means its game against Notre Dame scheduled for 2016 is off as well.

Folks in Pittsburgh and Boston have had time to come to terms with these expected changes as part of the ACC-Notre Dame partnership. Looking at the bigger picture, the ACC stands to benefit from what should be an overall stronger nonconference schedule -- especially since that is going to play such a large factor in the future playoff. Should Notre Dame continue what it started last season, the ACC benefits even more.

As for the Irish, their future ACC schedules are not totally daunting. On paper, 2014 looks to be the most difficult with Florida State, Louisville and North Carolina all on the slate. But the Louisville and UNC games are in South Bend. Even in 2016, both Miami and Virginia Tech play at Notre Dame.

Of course, predicting the ease or difficulty of future schedules is an exercise in the unknown, since teams change so much year-to-year. But at least today, the schedule split looks exactly right.

Notre Dame vs. the ACC

September, 13, 2012
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Now that we know Notre Dame will play five ACC teams every year beginning in 2014, here is a look at how the Irish have fared against ACC competition.

Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for compiling all these stats.

First point: Does the scheduling change that much for Notre Dame? In three of the past five seasons, the Fighting Irish have played or will play against four current/future ACC schools.
  • 2012: Miami, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Wake Forest
  • 2011: Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Maryland, Boston College, Florida State (bowl game)
  • 2010: Boston College, Pittsburgh
  • 2009: Boston College, Pittsburgh
  • 2008: North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Syracuse
  • Notre Dame has games against Pitt, Miami, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Boston College also scheduled into the future as well.
Second point: So how have the Irish fared against ACC competition?
  • Notre Dame has won six of its past seven against ACC teams (including 1-1 in bowl games over that stretch).
  • Since the ACC began in 1953, Notre Dame is 28-13 against ACC opponents (conference membership at the time of game).
  • Notre Dame has an all-time losing record against just two current ACC members (Florida State and NC State).
  • There is only one ACC team Notre Dame has never played: Virginia Tech.

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