Notre Dame vs. SEC Opponent During Regular Season Needs to Happen

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Notre Dame vs. SEC Opponent During Regular Season Needs to Happen
David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Notre Dame and Alabama met in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game

Scheduling is all the rage these days, with Florida and Miami possibly renewing their rivalry, LSU announcing games vs. Arizona State and UCLA and Texas A&M announcing a series with the Bruins as well. But one traditional college football power has yet to appear on the future schedule for an SEC team.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Head coach Brian Kelly intends to change that. 

Kelly joined FoxSports.com's Bruce Feldman's podcast earlier this week, and he was asked if the five-game yearly commitment to the ACC made it difficult to schedule an SEC program like Georgia, which was rumored to be in the works earlier this year.

No I don’t think that that’s something that’s too hard. I think one of our wishes, [Notre Dame AD] Jack [Swarbrick] and I, is that we want to get an SEC team on our schedule. The discussions have been to include an SEC opponent, and we want one that we feel makes sense, that has a very good geographical draw for us in the SEC.

If you look around we’re in Florida already with Florida State, so I think you can probably figure out pretty easily what SEC [team] would be the best draw for us as it relates to recruiting and an alumni base.

Georgia vs. Notre Dame would be great, and last month after the SEC announced its requirement to play a "power five" conference—which includes Notre Dame—I suggested a home-and-home "neutral site" series between the Irish and LSU at Soldier Field in Chicago and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Alex Brandon/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press
Notre Dame and LSU met in the 2007 Sugar Bowl

Let's not be greedy, though.

Notre Dame vs. the SEC either in a home-and-home (preferable) or on a neutral site is something that needs to happen.

The last time we saw the Irish against an SEC foe, it was getting run off of the field by Alabama in Miami Gardens in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game following the 2012 season.

Prior to that, their last meeting against an SEC team was a 41-14 loss to LSU in the 2007 Sugar Bowl following the 2006 season. The last time the Irish met an SEC team in the regular season was a home-and-home series with Tennessee in 2004 and 2005 in which they won both meetings with the Vols.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Notre Dame and Tennessee met in 2004 and 2005

Kelly mentioned in the podcast that Notre Dame is jumping through some of the same scheduling hoops that are impacting SEC and ACC teams. The Irish want to keep Stanford, USC and Navy on the schedule and according to ESPN, have those five ACC games per season and plan to play each ACC team at least once over a three-year span.

Should Notre Dame play an SEC opponent?

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Can you imagine Georgia working out a home-and-home with the Irish or, perhaps, the Irish playing an SEC opponent in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta? That'd be great exposure for any SEC team as well as the Irish, who aren't as much of a factor in the college football world in the SEC after its run of success for the better part of a decade.

Notre Dame may be viewed as more of a punch line than power in the SEC based on what went down in the title game against the Crimson Tide, but that may change.

The Irish have reeled in top-10 recruiting classes in each of the last two recruiting cycles according to 247Sports.com, and have a head coach in Brian Kelly who finally has Notre Dame headed in the right direction after the ill-fated Charlie Weis era.

SEC vs. Notre Dame. Make this happen, power brokers. For college football's sake.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.

 


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