With the Big Ten football season postponed to the spring—if we get one at all— Notre Dame football is the biggest draw in the Midwest this fall. The Fighting Irish, famously an FBS Independent program, is playing a full ACC schedule this season.
When the Big Ten made its decision on Aug. 11, it sent shockwaves throughout college football. The Pac-12 followed suit hours later, and it seemed as if the other leagues may do the same for a while.
Instead, the ACC, Big 12, and SEC have held firm, as have the AAC, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt among the Group of Five. The ACC’s decision gave Notre Dame a soft landing spot after the Big Ten and Pac-12 decisions threatened the Fighting Irish’s ability to field a 2020 schedule. Even head coach Brian Kelly admits that he was worried after the Big Ten’s decision.
“There were ups and downs,” the long time Fighting Irish head coach said, via Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. “The Big Ten not playing was one of those bad days.”
ND’s Brian Kelly was worried about “ripple effects” after B1G scrapped fall fball: “There were ups and downs. The Big Ten not playing was one of those bad days … We kept our head down … and felt some comfort as a group.”
Irish host Duke on Sat.
B1G waiting on restart vote.
— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) September 10, 2020
Notre Dame did a good job of testing throughout the offseason, and withstood increased positive tests when students reported to campus in South Bend. Now, it is just days away from starting its strange season as an ACC member school.
The Fighting Irish host Duke on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET. They have a single non-conference game against South Florida the following week, and then plays home games against Florida State, Louisville, Clemson, and Syracuse, and road contests at Wake Forest, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Boston College, and North Carolina.
Notre Dame football is eligible to compete in the ACC Championship—potentially setting up a rematch with Clemson—and will be part of the league’s bowl selection lineup, assuming the bowl slate takes place as schedule this year.