Notre Dame Football: Could Irish rely on other independents to fill schedule?

Dexter Williams #2 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dexter Williams #2 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the Notre Dame football program, as well as other schools who remain independent.

When conferences like the B1G 10 and PAC-12 announcing that they’re not going to play any out of conference games in 2020, it felt like the first domino in the end of the 2020’s season fell down. It had more than a small effect on Notre Dame’s schedule, and left a ton of questions for all the Independents, especially if all the conferences head towards a schedule without out of conference games.

The most obvious and important of those questions, who will they play?

Notre Dame is the only one with any sense of security, as they can fall back on the ACC. The ACC, who has loudly said they’ll support Notre Dame, already has 6 games scheduled against the Irish and there are opportunities to add more games.

However, the ACC is considering a pod format to their season, which could throw Notre Dame’s schedule through a loop. If pods, a change in policy, or some other factor keeps Notre Dame from playing their ACC games then the Irish season will be in jeopardy from a simple lack of a schedule.

The Irish aren’t alone with this problem. All of the Independents have to fill out a full schedule if the conferences choose to only play their conference games.

In the past, New Mexico State and Liberty have played twice in a season to fill out their schedules. Now, it seems as though all the Independents may come together to play twice. This would salvage a potentially lost season for them. It would be like the Independents formed a one season pseudo-conference.

As of right now, this plan doesn’t include Notre Dame. However, Jack Swarbrick should be in contact with the Independent athletic directors, if only as a back-up plan.

Things are changing rapidly in college football. What is true today is often not true tomorrow. So, it’s not prudent to put all of Notre Dame’s eggs in the ACC basket. You can’t afford to have them announce that you’re off the schedule a week before the season. You can’t give the ACC anything over you, or they may try to strong arm you into full membership.

Now, this is a worst case scenario, but everything about the past six months have been worst case scenario.

dark. Next. Is Notre Dame basketball in trouble amid the pandemic?

An all-Independents schedule is far from an exciting one. It would include BYU, Army, New Mexico State, UConn, UMass, and Liberty. There’s no way to make that an appealing schedule. Still, there’s a reason you jump from a plane with a back-up parachute. It’s life insurance.