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Ken SugiuraKen Sugiura

Remainder of Notre Dame-ACC scheduling being finalized

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The ACC and Notre Dame are expected to finalize details for the remainder of their 60-game contract soon. ACC senior associate commissioner Michael Strickland said the conference will likely have dates and sites for the fourth, fifth and six years of the deal and years and sites for the back half of the contract. Under the agreement, which begins this year, Notre Dame will play every ACC school four times, home and away, through 2025. The ACC-Notre Dame games have already been scheduled for 2014-2016.
An announcement could come in August.
“I don’t think we’ll have specific dates for some of those later years, but setting the rotation of them knowing, Hey, you play at (Notre Dame) or host in a certain year, that’s something that’s something that we’d like to get done probably really soon,” Strickland said.
Tech’s first game against Notre Dame will be at South Bend, Ind., Sept. 19, 2015.

Some other details on how the sausage gets made, so to speak:

1. Every team will play Notre Dame four times and four teams will play the Irish a fifth time. The schedule is for 60 games over 12 years.

2. It largely won’t be a model where any team will play Notre Dame every three years, as there’s too many moving parts for that to happen.

3. Among the litany of factors that Strickland and his counterparts at Notre Dame (athletic director Jack Swarbrick, senior associate AD John Heisler and associate AD Chad Klunder) are having to take into consideration:

- Notre Dame’s contracted games with Stanford and USC, which means also dealing with the Pac-12’s scheduling model, and Navy.

- Schedule balance for Notre Dame. As Strickland put it, “You wouldn’t want, nor would they ever agree to it, where they have to play Southern Cal, Florida State, Clemson and Miami four in a row.”

- The four built-in rivalry games for Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Louisville, as those teams’ preference, Strickland said, would be to avoid playing their rivalry game and the Notre Dame both on the road in the same year.

- This is my favorite – NBC’s fall sports lineup. When NBC carries events like the Ryder Cup and the Breeders’ Cup on autumn Saturdays, Notre Dame can’t play at home, as the network is contracted to carry all Notre Dame home games.

- The schedules for all 14 ACC teams. It can be presumed, for instance, that Tech would prefer to not play Notre Dame the week before it plays Georgia.

Said Strickland, “So you’ve got to pass the smell test on paper for everybody. It’s more art than science, for sure. It’s not very complicated, in terms of the technology used.”

Strickland keeps his information on computer files and the like. “Nothing extravagant,” he said.

My guess would be that after Tech plays at Notre Dame in 2015, the return game would probably be in an even year when the Jackets are at Georgia, so maybe 2018, since 2016 is already scheduled, and perhaps as the second or third game of the season.

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