What are you going to be doing in 20 years?
If you are a Clemson fan, you hope to be in Death Valley when Notre Dame returns to Clemson Memorial Stadium for just the fifth time ever.
As you know, Notre Dame, along with the ACC, announced its five-game schedule with ACC opponents from 2026 through the 2037 season. The league had previously announced games from 2017-2025 with Notre Dame. The agreement continues a partnership that began in 2014, in which the ACC’s 14 football member schools play the Fighting Irish an average of five times per year.
In case you missed our earlier report, Clemson will now play Notre Dame eight times in the next 20 years. The ACC previously announced the Tigers playing at Notre Dame in 2020 and 2022 before the series returns to Clemson in 2023.
On Thursday, the league announced Clemson will host Notre Dame in 2027, 2031 (Labor Day) and 2037 while the Irish will host Clemson in 2028 and 2034.
So what are you doing in 20 years?
It’s interesting to think, if Dabo Swinney is still Clemson’s head coach he will be 67 years old, and will be in his 29th season at Clemson. It’s possible, right?
Something tells me I don’t think Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly will still be there. However, if he is, he will be 75 years old.
But let’s be honest, 20 years is a long, long way away. In college football it is even longer. Think back to 10 years ago. Where was Clemson then? Where was Notre Dame then? Things can change very fast in college football.
Granted, Clemson has been one of the best programs in college football the last six years, but it is hard to predict where it might be five years from now, much less 20 years.
What we do know from the small sample size that we have is that Notre Dame vs. Clemson is a pretty entertaining football game. In their first meeting in 1977, a game played in Death Valley, Steve Fuller jumped Clemson out to a big-lead only to see future Pro Football Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl Champion Joe Montana bring the Irish back for a 21-17 victory.
Two years later, Clemson returned the favor in South Bend. After falling behind 10-0 in the first half, Billy Lott led the Tigers back with 16 unanswered points to stun Notre Dame 16-10, just the second time Notre Dame’s seniors lost on senior day since World War II. Terry Kinard had three interceptions in that victory.
Then of course there is the epic 2015 game which was played in what seemed like a wet monsoon as heavy rains hit the Clemson area.
Clemson dominated the game for three quarters and led 21-3 at one point, but behind Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, the Irish rallied for three scores in the fourth quarter and pulled within two points with just seconds remaining in the game.
However, linebacker Ben Boulware and Carlos Watkins held their ground as they stuffed Kizer a yard short of the goal on a two-point conversion attempt to preserve the victory, a key win in the Tigers run to the 2016 National Championship Game.
So, I don’t know where I will be in 20 years, but I hope I’m Death Valley watching the Tigers and Irish play for just the fifth time there. As for the other seven games in between, I have a pretty good idea where I will be for most of those.
I’ll see you in the press box.