Notre Dame Football: ACC Teams That Make Up Perfect Schedule
The Irish football team may still be independent, but will sure spend a lot of time in the ACC, as it was announced that the school with switch from the Big East to the ACC. This guarantees that Notre Dame football will play a total of five games a year against teams within the conference.
Notre Dame has not reached a BCS bowl game since 2006, and has been struggling ever since to return to the top of the college football landscape. While inconsistent play on the football field has played a big part in the lack of success, it is not the only thing that can help this team get back into the BCS spotlight.
Scheduling games at the right time and locations can also help in moving up the rankings, which would, of course, help the Irish take that next step forward.
With many solid ACC teams to choose from, here is what the perfect ACC schedule would look like for Notre Dame's first season as partial members of the new conference.
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Pittsburgh will likely be one of the teams that Notre Dame plays each year in the ACC, as this is a matchup that has taken place off and on for a total of 64 meetings.
Scheduling this game in the beginning of the season would get one of the ACC games out of the way and would be considered a warm-up game for the Irish. It has been a while since the Panthers have been a relevant football team and will need a few years under new head coach Paul Chryst to become a respectable program once again.
Notre Dame has won six of the last nine meetings and should have no problem with this matchup, as the Irish prepare for some of the tougher opponents ahead.
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There is no better way to be considered a BCS contender than taking on other BCS-caliber programs. After about three or four games into the season, Florida State should be scheduled by the end of September.
Florida State has reached 29 straight bowl games and are contenders for ACC championships, as well as national championships nearly every season. With the talent that head coach Jimbo Fisher has on the roster now, and the recruits that are coming in each year, the Seminoles will remain one of the top teams in the country every season.
If you truly want to make a statement to the rest of college football, knocking off a top-ranked team early is the way to go. Unfortunately, the Irish are 2-5 against the Seminoles in all time.
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After playing some of the better teams on the schedule, like Florida State, Notre Dame will need some rest. That is why scheduling a team such as Boston College in the middle of the year is the perfect idea.
The Eagles have been experiencing a free fall lately under head coach Frank Spaziani, who will be lucky to last through the entire 2012 season. Boston College has not won a bowl game since 2007, missed the bowl season all together last year and has lost the last three meetings against the Irish.
With teams such as Florida State already on the schedule, and possibly a few dominant Big Ten teams, Boston College is the perfect balance to give this Notre Dame team a week to recover.
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This game would be the matchup that decides the fate of the Irish. Win this game, and there is a great chance that Notre Dame is considered for a BCS bowl (assuming they take care of business the rest of the way). Lose, and it may be another case of "maybe next year."
This game would preferably be played in Blacksburg, Va., which is considered one of the toughest places to play in all of college football. The Hokies, of course, would be ranked in the Top 15 and considered one of the favorites to win the ACC Championship. And if Notre Dame is able to go in there and walk out with a victory, it would really do wonders for the rest of the season, as well as gain respect from the rest of the voters.
These two teams have never met, but a victory over the Hokies—a team that has clinched 19 straight bowl appearances—would prove that the Irish can hang with the best of them.
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Assuming that Notre Dame is able to keep the traditional rivalries of Stanford and USC, you don't want to schedule a matchup that would be too tough to overcome. The Miami Hurricanes seem to fit the bill nicely for a November ACC contest.
Miami has been a struggling program ever since it has left the Big East, as the success in the ACC has been minimal at best. With last year’s scandal continuing to hang over the Hurricanes' heads, there is no sign of things turning around any time soon for this program.
But let's be honest, this is still Miami, a team that will continue to bring in top talent, as Florida athletes love the idea of staying close to home. Like Notre Dame, the Hurricanes always have people watching, regardless of how their program is doing on the football field.
This would be a solid game for the Irish to play, just weeks before a big matchup against a Pac-12 team to end the year.