Notre Dame will play at Clemson for the first time since 1977 when the Irish come to Memorial Stadium on Oct. 3, 2015. The ACC and the University of Notre Dame announced the dates of Notre Dame’s games with ACC schools for the 2014-16 seasons on Friday.
The last time the two schools met at Clemson was Nov. 12, 1977, when fifth-ranked Notre Dame and Joe Montana defeated No. 15 Clemson and Steve Fuller, 21-17.
Clemson will be one of six ACC teams Notre Dame plays in 2015. The Irish also will play at Virginia, at Pittsburgh and against Boston College at Fenway Park. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest will travel to South Bend. There was no word on when Clemson will play at Notre Dame, but it won’t be in 2016.
Notre Dame won’t play a Big Ten opponent in 2015, the first time that’s happened in more than 100 years.
The 2014 schedule was released so late because Irish athletics director Jack Swarbrick had to make adjustments when the school agreed to play five games a season against ACC opponents after joining the league for most sports other than football. That left the Irish with too many games.
The problem was solved when Wake Forest agreed to move its 2014 game to 2015 and Swarbrick made the game against Boston College a Shamrock Series game, where the Irish play one home game a season at a neutral site.
Notre Dame already has measured the field at Fenway to make sure there wouldn’t be a recurrence of what happened when Northwestern played Illinois at Wrigley Field in 2010 and they had to change the rules so that the offenses would run only toward the west end zone because the east end zone came within a foot of a padded brick wall.
The Irish also play Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis next season, Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in 2014 and 2016, Navy at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., next season and Army in San Antonio in 2016.
They open the 2015 season at home against Texas and open at the Longhorns in 2016.
Swarbrick said when putting together the schedule his other priorities were keeping the model of playing six home games, five road games and the Shamrock Series game, playing on Saturdays, preserving the games with USC, Stanford and Navy, maximizing the school’s geographic reach, maintaining a strong strength of schedule and playing other highly ranked academic schools.
Maintaining games with traditional opponents Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan and Pittsburgh weren’t as high a priority. Swarbrick said he took it as a compliment so many people got upset the Irish won’t be playing them as often.
“I can’t think of a higher form of flattery for Notre Dame football, that people got so upset at the prospect of losing games with us,” he said.
He said the schedule achieves the geographic reach by playing in nine of the nation’s 12 largest cities during the three-year span and nine of the 10 largest Catholic communities.
Swarbrick said a priority moving forward is trying to add an SEC opponent to the schedule. He said that’s difficult, however, because Notre Dame has one open spot in its schedule for a road game and that is filled through the 2020 season. The Irish also owe BYU a game there.
The Irish also will be playing more home night games. Swarbrick said in addition to the annual Shamrock Series games being played at night, the Irish have agreed to play three night games every two years in South Bend.