Notre Dame Football: What if the Navy game in Ireland is canceled?

Navy v Notre Dame (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Navy v Notre Dame (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The 2020 college football season is at risk, and Notre Dame football’s trip to Ireland to play Navy appears to be unlikely.

Notre Dame’s 2020 season was set to open with much fanfare. For the first time since 2012, the Notre Dame/Navy football rivalry was set to open the season in Dublin, Ireland on August 29.

This game was to get the superstar treatment — as the biggest game during the inaugural week of the season, even Lee Corso and the College Gameday crew were set to fly to Ireland for the kickoff show’s first international event.

Now all the big events may not even happen.

It’s not out of the question that the game is still played, whether at a neutral site, later in the season, or even both. But given the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ireland has banned mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people until “at least” September. That certainly doesn’t bode well for a game scheduled in August.

If there is a college football season, and the game cannot happen from Dublin, Ireland, where should it take place?

The answer is simple: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

In the 93 year history of the storied rivalry, Notre Dame has never played a true road game at the Naval Academy.  The game is often played in Baltimore when it’s Navy’s turn to host. Jacksonville, East Rutherford, and San Diego have also played host.

Given the circumstances, fans may not be allowed to attend. Attendance has always been the biggest issue as to why Navy has never hosted: the stadium only holds 34,000 people, making it one of the smallest in the FBS. There’s considerably more money to be made at alternate sites.

While it’s definitely a negative if fans are banned, that’s all the more reason that Navy should finally play host to the Irish. It’s a long time coming, and if ticket sales are irrelevant, the timing is right.

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