One of most interesting byproducts of our discussions in the past week-plus with conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick was: if there is a movement toward playing only conference games, what does that do to the most important and high profile program that isn't in a conference? That, of course, is Notre Dame, the proud independent school of Northwest Indiana. Would they be shut out effectively of having a schedule? Probably not.
For one thing, they are in a conference agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Most of their other sports are in that league. And they have six ACC games scheduled. So I think the belief or the hope from Jack Swarbrick, the Notre Dame A.D., is that those six games would still be played in a partnership with the ACC. Beyond that, he has said the Naval Academy wants to keep its game, which right now is scheduled to be played in Ireland. That probably isn't going to happen there, but they'll play somewhere. That gets Notre Dame to seven games, and then what happens from there?
There is talk of a conference schedule plus one non-conference game, and as Swarbrick pointed out, Notre Dame would be most people's ideal plus one. You'd want to keep that game on the schedule. But traditional games against USC and Stanford, we would see what happens there, the California schools may be among the slowest to return to football activities and that may affect those games on the schedule. Notre Dame certainly would be the kind of school that most teams, if they end up with an opening on the schedule, would love to pick up a game against the high profile Fighting Irish. But we'll see if they can get to 10, 11, 12 games, if there's a truncated season, or just what happens with Notre Dame going forward.