On the same day Notre Dame fans got the not so great news about Tee Shepard leaving school, Brian Kelly's team releases some news that should get Fighting Irish fans excited; the Michigan game will be played under the lights in South Bend.
Great move by Brian Kelly and athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
For a program that much of the college football world has been calling behind the times for awhile now back to back seasons with home night games goes into the hopper with their alternate uniforms to prove that Brian Kelly is making a conscious effort to keep the Irish fresh on folks minds. And by folks I mean recruits.
While the dyed in the wool Irish fans sit back and complain about tradition and the way that they used to do things, Brian Kelly is slowly building up the talent on both sides of the roster and making Notre Dame relevant around the nation.
Prime time television, at home, is another piece of that equation.
This is a moment that will work for Brian Kelly on two levels. On the large scale, he will have eyeballs in front of his program watching them play against a Michigan team that people are expecting to continue their push towards a Big Ten title. NBC and Brian Kelly get to plug their team, the Fighting Irish, as THE game, up against the ACC, SEC, Big XII and Pac-12 teams that routinely play night games in front of the nation on Saturday nights.
That means more people watching, more people getting to see what his program is all about on both sides of the ball. Voters get a shot to watch after they're finished covering their daytime contests. Recruits get a chance to see this Fighting Irish squad play in Kelly's offense and they get to look at this much improved defense.
On the small scale this is a huge move for Brian Kelly's program from a short term recruiting standpoint. Getting kids into South Bend is always a plus and with a night game against Michigan recruits will be treated to an electric atmosphere. Full stadium. Fans chanting. Riding into town through the tailgaters anticipating the start of the night's contest. Being treated to something like that, seeing the passion and the palpable aura that surrounds South Bend on game-day is a way to truly impress recruits.
Oh, and let's not forget that kids like playing at night. It is just one of those things that inexplicably characterizes football, the bulk of dudes like playing night games. Even though they're a pain, you sit around all day trying to rest and eat right and then you get the jitters and you have to stay focused even though you couldn't sleep the night before and you end up getting out of the game so late that going out is sometimes not worth it; guys love night games.
Love this move by the Irish athletic department and NBC. Them, along with Adidas, are going to drag Notre Dame back to the forefront of the college football fan's mind, now all Brian Kelly and the boys have to do is go out there and put together some wins.