Last week’s news that Notre Dame and Arizona State will keep its 2014 football game means the Fighting Irish will have to turn elsewhere to cancel two games.
A game against Rice could be one of the victims. Rice and Notre Dame are tentatively scheduled to meet in South Bend on Aug. 30, 2014.
The football partnership between Notre Dame and the ACC is the reason why Notre Dame is overscheduled. The Irish have currently have 14 opponents in 2014, the year the agreement of playing five ACC opponents kicks in.
Notre Dame will host ACC opponents Louisville, North Carolina and Wake Forest that season with trips to Florida State and Syracuse (played in East Rutherford, NJ). Notre Dame also has home games with Michigan, Purdue, Stanford and Northwestern and road trips to Temple, Navy, Arizona State and USC.
An article by Adam Green of Arizona Sports earlier this month reported Notre Dame was trying to get out of the trip to Arizona State. The Sun Devils weren’t pleased.
The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Sun Devils 2014 game is still on (though moved back to November). Tribune reporter Brian Hamilton wrote that Rice, Northwestern and Temple games are the most likely games to be rescheduled or canceled.
It’s difficult to imagine, Notre Dame dumping its biggest rivalries USC, Navy, Michigan or Stanford (though the Michigan series will be disrupted after 2014). Purdue is a possibility, thought they play the Irish every year whereas Rice hasn’t played Notre Dame in a quarter century. One guess is the trip to Temple may not be as attractive with the Irish are already playing nearby in New Jersey.
Rice has three non-conferences game schedule for 2014. Besides Notre Dame, the Owls are scheduled to play at Army and host New Mexico State.
Rice plays at New Mexico State in 2013 along with a trip to Texas A&M to open the season. The two other non-conference games this fall are hosting Kansas and the Bayou Bucket game at Reliant Stadium against Houston.
Rice and Notre Dame last met in 1988 when the Irish won 54-11. Notre Dame also owns wins in the series in 1915, 1973 and 1974. The 1915 and 1973 games were in Houston.
Outgoing Rice Athletic Director Rick Greenspan announced the game with the Irish in December 2011. No return game in Houston was scheduled.
“We are excited to add this game to the schedule in order to give our student-athletes and our fans this tremendous opportunity to experience a game day in South Bend and renew this series with the Irish,” Greenspan said at the time.
Greenspan will leave his AD post on June 30. What impact that has on game scheduling remains to be seen.