August 9, 2022

Is Notre Dame’s football season truly in jeopardy?

Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame players warm up before game against Iowa State Saturday December 28, 2019 at Camping World Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

Judgement day is upon College football.

The Coronavirus has been a disaster for the sport and the six-week plan to resume activities has gone awry. The Power Five conferences are trying to take a leap of faith without seeing the stairway in terms of salvaging the upcoming season.

First the Big Ten made the unprecedented move and dropped non-conference play this fall. Then the Pac-12 followed suit the next day. It was a devastating blow for Notre Dame because the blue blood program has strong ties to both conferences.

So much for the Trojans getting a chance to snap their three-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish. Both programs have clashed every year since 1946 and annually for the Jewelled Shillelagh since 1952. The battle against Stanford for the Legends Trophy is on hiatus also. Not to mention Notre Dame’s highly-anticipated clash with Wisconsin at Lambeau is gone with the wind.

It’s ironic that the Independent status that made Notre Dame legendary for over a century is what has the program on the outside looking in today? For years College Football fanatics been wanting Notre Dame to join a conference, especially the individuals who envy the program.

As of now, the Fighting Irish need a Power Five affiliation like we need masks facing the pandemic. However, the ACC is giving Notre Dame mouth-to-mouth, with six scheduled games on the slate.

Hosting Clemson will still be one of the biggest matchups of 2020. Notre Dame’s game against Navy has already been moved from Ireland and will be played in Annapolis for the first time ever, but what if the AAC adopts the same format?

You have to assume the SEC will eventually fall in line with the conference-only format too, making Arkansas a no go. Which means the ACC holds all of Notre Dame’s cards and won’t make an announcement on the season until later this month.

Last year Bowling Green was paid $1.1 million to take a beating at Notre Dame Stadium. Western Michigan is the only MAC opponent on Notre Dame’s schedule and needs that hefty payout more than ever. If everything pans out, that would give the Fighting Irish eight legit games. That’s equal to the amount of what other Power Five teams will be playing with a conference-only schedule.

Everyone will be on the edge of their seats to see what’s the next big move in College football. Unfortunately, the sport is trending down a similar path March Madness encountered earlier this year. Yet the game needs a good Fighting Irish team, which Brian Kelly definitely has in South Bend.

How many adjustments does the NCAA need to make to accommodate all involved before realizing the inevitable. The Independents of the world like Notre Dame, Army and BYU are suffering the most from these milestone decisions.

And if Notre Dame can’t suit up this fall, the 2020 season will most likely be a wash. In the meantime, we’re all sitting with our arms crossed as a resolution from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC looms.