Navy and Notre Dame are contracted to play annually through 2026, a twenty-year deal that began with a ten-year deal in 2005 and was extended an additional ten years in 2011. Today, the athletic directors from both schools made a joint announcement with the prime minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar regarding the 2020 game, which will now be played in Dublin, Ireland to open the season on August 29.
(Via Forbes.com) https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristidosh/2018/10/25/navy-notre-dame-to-kick-off-five-game-american-football-series-in-dublin-ireland/#2c8fc6f52467
With Notre Dame set to travel and play in Ireland again, it made me wonder, is it worth it? Notre Dame travels all over the country and this year is no different. When all is said and done, Notre Dame will travel 12,500 total miles during the 2018 regular season. for a comparison, Alabama will travel a total of 3,900 miles.
I’ve already talked about the schedule that Notre Dame faces yearly ( Notre Dame Deserves More Credit For Yearly Schedule ). they consistently play one of the toughest schedules in the country and the travel just makes it even more difficult. In the last five games this season, Notre Dame has to travel 8,522 miles round trip. That has the annual California trip around Thanksgiving, but now they have a second west coast trip and an east coast trip worked into the schedule
The trip to San Diego was out of their control, it is Navy’s year and they choose to host in one of the biggest naval cities in the U.S. But I’m looking at the Shamrock series in New York City against probably the toughest opponent left. It is an added stressor that isn’t needed on an already grueling season, why do it?
My only thought is the recruiting sell of getting to see the world. It would make sense from that standpoint. LSU only traveling 4,700 miles can’t make claims about playing on both coasts and in the house that Jeter built. On the flip side, this has to be a headache to the players and coaches alike. Kelly talked about planning the logistics of this California trip. He said they would be staying in California for the night instead of flying back after the game. Kelly was quoted, “Getting out there hydrated, staying on the Eastern Standard clock, playing the game, staying over, getting a good night’s sleep, getting on the plane, using that as an opportunity to rest so when we get back here we’re not feeling the effects of the West Coast trip.” Thankfully it is only @ Northwestern the week after, a couple hour bus ride.
Recruiting has to play a factor but Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick mentioned another influence in an interview with Sports Illustrated when asked about the travel. Swarbrick talked about advice Jesse Harper gave to Knute Rockne about a century ago: “Take the team to the largest venues in the country because you want the world to know who Notre Dame is.” Great advice for Rockne but unlike Kelly, he didn’t have an NBC deal at the time.
In the heat of a playoff race, I would prefer to play a basic travel schedule and have all the home games that Notre Dame should have. Outsourcing home games just seems like too much strain on everyone.
Let us know what you think, do you like the travel or would you rather they play their home games at home? Let us know below.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.