As we reported in Tuesday night’s Insider Report, planning for a college football season seems to be a mess right now.
The conferences and the NCAA are doing all they can do to put together a protocol that will get the student-athletes back on campus in a timely manner so that it can hopefully set a date when the 2020 College Football season might begin.
Right now, there are a bunch of scenarios being thrown around and from what we were told, it seems more likely the start of the season could be delayed. If that is the case, what does that look like? There are a number of options on the table. One of them being discussed is a conference schedule-plus one model – eight conference games plus one non-conference game.
It is an interesting concept for a lot of teams affiliated with conferences, but it is an even more interesting model for independent football schools such as Notre Dame. What does it mean for the Irish?
Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick conducted a Zoom video conference Tuesday with members of the media from around the country, including our friends at Irish Sports Daily.
In the video conference, Swarbrick was asked if any conferences are truly considering a conference-only schedule this fall and if so, where does that leave Notre Dame football?
“I don’t want to speak for the conference commissioners, but I think they’re considering every option,” he said. “And I would be surprised if there’s any conference that hasn’t looked at a conference-only alternative.”
TCI learned the Atlantic Coast Conference is one of those conferences that has discussed the plus-one model. Of course, Notre Dame is a part-time member of the ACC and, considering it is scheduled to play six ACC teams this coming year, it would be involved in these conversations.
What does it mean for Notre Dame?
“We are very comfortable that if it goes that way, that we’ll be fine,” Swarbrick said. “That we’ll be able to play a high-quality, full schedule the same number of games that other teams would play.”
Based on what Swarbrick said Tuesday, it seems the Irish, in the plus-one scenario, would likely play its six ACC games on its schedule. It has home games this coming year against Duke, Clemson, and Louisville. It also is scheduled to play road games at Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest.
Swarbrick hopes they can still play Wisconsin and Arkansas and then one of its traditional rivals, which right now seems to be Navy, considering the reports the Pac 12 is talking about not having a football season. Right now, Stanford and Southern Cal are also on Notre Dame’s schedule.
However, if Notre Dame does play a schedule like the one outlined above, what does that mean for Clemson?
Is there a chance Clemson and South Carolina might not play this year?
If Notre Dame is still scheduled to play Clemson and the Tigers have to play their eight ACC games, then yes, there is a chance in the plus-one scenario that Clemson and South Carolina would not play in 2020.
There are pros and cons to both. By playing Notre Dame, it would bolster the Tigers’ schedule. The Irish are expected to be a top-10 team this season and they very well could be undefeated when Clemson makes the trip to South Bend, Ind., in November.
A win at a top-10 Notre Dame team late in the season would almost lock up a College Football Playoff spot for Clemson assuming they take care of business in their conference schedule.
However, by dropping the Gamecocks and playing Notre Dame, Clemson would lose a home game and possibly another $5.5 million in revenue. If the season is already cut three games, it means the Tigers would have already lost two other non-conference home games, which is a possible $11.5 million in revenue.
Also, the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is the second-longest uninterrupted game in college football and is one of the game’s oldest rivalries. The two rivals have met every year since 1909, that is 111 straight meetings. The two have played against each other 117 times overall, with Clemson owning a 71-42-4 record in the all-time series.
But considering its conference affiliation with Notre Dame, it will be a very interesting conversation if things escalate to this scenario. If it does, will Clemson have a say in the matter because the conference is going to want to help Notre Dame, too.
As of right now, our sources at Clemson have told us Clemson has not weighed in on this matter. We will keep you posted on this subject if it starts to come into play.
Again, as of right now, the conferences and the NCAA are doing all they can to start the season on time.
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