Notre Dame's 2010 schedule was finalized today when Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick agreed to add Western Michigan as one of the seven home games for the Irish next season.
Western Michigan—you read it correctly.
The same team that the Irish have played a whopping two times in the years 1919-1920, where they combined to beat the Broncos by a score of 94-0. One of the four directional college football programs involving the state name of Michigan.
Not to mention the most irrelevant.
Irish fans across the nation are asking themselves each the same question—Why? Well at least the Broncos face off against Virginia Tech next year too, right?
Wrong—Notre Dame replaces the Hokies on Western Michigan's newly completed schedule.
Well at least Swarbrick added some other big names to the 2010 slate. What about the talks concerning Boise State and TCU?
Instead, Swarbrick added the mighty Golden Hurricane of Tulsa.
On this day, I now consider myself officially off the Swarbrick bandwagon—he was a person in which I was fairly confident.
When hearing him talk about his philosophy regarding his 7-4-1 scheduling model, I felt as if Father Jenkins finally had done the impossible—hired a man who was on the same page with the program's fans.
Swarbick's excuse for scheduling the likes of Tulsa and Western Michigan? A change in athletic directors at TCU:
“My response to that is, look at the top 10 right now, and look at it in recent years,” he said. “Last year it was Ball State that was on that remarkable run, and Buffalo had a great year. Certainly, it's no surprise that TCU and Boise State are having the kind of years they're having.
“That's the landscape of college football now. And I know our fans are so savvy and they follow the games closely that they'll understand that. The second part is we're trying to maximize home games for our fans and our players. When you do that, you have to find folks that are willing to play you on a non home-and-home basis.”
Swarbrick better hope he has enough "savvy" fans to fill his football stadium come October 16th, 2010.
Especially with next season's Murderer's Row: Western Michigan, Navy, Tulsa, Utah and Army in consecutive weeks.
Regarding the rest of the schedule, things don't look too easy. The Irish go on the road against Southern California, Boston College, and Michigan State. At home, they take on Michigan, Stanford, Purdue, Utah, and Pittsburgh in addition to the two new questionable home games.
Since I am known as Mr. Optimist, I leave you with two positives from these new revelations of Notre Dame's future encounters with powerhouses from the right side of Michigan and Tulsa, the forty-seventh most important football team in its home state.
Either these games were scheduled in order to break in Dayne Crist next season or to allow Charlie Weis' replacement to get a feel for what it's like to be Notre Dame's newest head coach.