Buried in the news of Domers signing on with NFL teams as free agents is a tasty nugget of scheduling info, courtesy of East Lansing. Looks like the series that took root in 1897 will officially continue through 2025, and that's fine. I have no qualms maintaining our relationship with MSU. They probably rank 3rd in terms of historical tradition with Notre Dame - USC and Michigan obviously being ahead of them.
A couple thoughts: HUGE statement from Dantonio & Co. with home-and-homes against West Virginia and Alabama. I'm sure the Spartan faithful will work themselves into a frenzy welcoming Saban back to town. Alabama and Notre Dame as non-conference opponents in 2016-17 might be biting off more than Sparty can chew, but I tip my cap to them for having the cajones to pull it off.
More important for Notre Dame's future schedule flexibility are the two-year breaks in the extension with Michigan State, due in 2014-15 and 2020-21. Weis and Swarbrick must jump at the opportunity to beef up the schedule with another traditional jewel like Texas, Bama, Florida, Miami, Georgia or LSU. If MSU can do it, it would be a shame if we didn't up the ante and cue up some "Games of the Year" in their place. I can't even fathom the prospect of more watered down regional matchups. That's not what Irish football was built on.
There's a glimmer of hope. At the Annual Rockne dinner for the Chicago Alumni Club last week, Swarbrick spoke about the tradition of playing national schedules, specifically Jesse Harper's first season on the sidelines in 1913. Harper scheduled road games with Army, Penn State and Texas within 27 days of each other, en route to a 7-0 undefeated campaign and putting Notre Dame football on the map for good. When Rockne took the reins, he merely continued Harper's legacy of testing yourself against the best competition. The fact that Swarbrick is publicly talking about this tradition bodes well. Hopefully there's some exciting news to come shortly.
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