There are trade-offs to having Notre Dame football as a “five-eighths” member of the ACC.
When N.C. State was dropped down to the Bitcoin Bowl in 2014, instead of a spot in the Belk Bowl against an SEC opponent, that was the tough part.
Getting the Fighting Irish to come to Raleigh on Saturday, for the biggest home game against a nonconference opponent in 12 years, that’s the good part.
Like the rest of the ACC, N.C. State just has to take the bad with the good when it comes to Notre Dame, which is an ACC member in all sports except football.
“Any time you get to play a marquee opponent, it’s a positive for your fan base, positive for your season-ticket holders and our players like playing teams like that,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said.
But there is a “but” to the deal, which calls for Notre Dame to play five ACC games per year, compared to eight by the rest of the league .
“But it is a strange agreement in some ways,” Doeren said. “I think all of our coaches would love to see them be a full-time partner but that’s not where it is right now.”
Nope, Notre Dame remains an island in college football. They’ve been kind enough to let the ACC visit regularly. Any alms from the Irish are welcomed by the ACC, which gets a bigger cut from ESPN for its “strange agreement” with Notre Dame. More money is always a good thing (Amateurism!)
N.C. State will go to Notre Dame next year and in 2025 and the Irish are scheduled to return to Raleigh in 2023.
N.C. State made the most of Notre Dame’s presence on the schedule. The school sold more than 36,000 season tickets this season, which it has touted as a school record.
They’ll have to remember that the next time Notre Dame bumps them down in the bowl order, as it did in 2014. N.C. State was lined up to go to the Belk Bowl after a 7-5 regular-season finish that year.
Instead, the Fighting Irish, also 7-5, squeezed into the Music City Bowl and pushed Louisville, then 9-3, into the Belk Bowl. N.C. State went on to beat Central Florida in the Bitcoin Bowl, so all was not lost.
And even with some of the hype dampened for this game by both Notre Dame’s slow start and Hurricane Matthew, it’s only the 12th time since 1993 N.C. State has hosted a current “Power 5” team in a nonconference game and easily still the most interesting since Ohio State’s visit in 2004.
So, again, you take your wins where you can get them. In this case, the Wolfpack would like to add an actual win to Notre Dame’s tab.
On to your Twitter questions:
How, if at all, has Bud Foster’s defensive scheming changed w/ JF & what does VPI’s recent results v. spreads predict 4 Saturday?
Think it’s fair to say, without the benefit of an elaborate film breakdown, Foster didn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel since Justin Fuente replaced Frank Beamer.
Also probably a fair assessment that Virginia Tech’s national ranking in pass defense (No. 10 in the FBS) is a product of facing Liberty, Boston College and Tennessee.
I have no explanation for how Tennessee could throw for only 91 yards in a 45-24 win but you’ll note East Carolina threw for 362 yards against the Hokies in a 54-17 loss in Blacksburg in Sept. 24.
UNC’s Mitch Trubisky has had three straight 400-yard games. He was an incredible 31 of 38 for 405 yards, with three scores, against an FSU defense that has more talent than Virginia Tech.
That being said, this is a difficult spot for UNC, coming off an emotional win and with a showdown at Miami looming next week.
What is the path to bowl eligibility for State, Duke, and Wake?
N.C. State (3-1) needs three wins and home games with Notre Dame and Boston College (Oct. 29) likely offer the best opportunities. The Wolfpack would need a win at Syracuse (Nov. 12) or a home upset of Miami (Nov. 19) to get to six.
Wake Forest (4-1) needs two more wins and has home dates with Syracuse, Army, Virginia and Boston College.
Duke (2-3), under normal circumstances, would need four more wins and other than Saturday’s game with Army, no obvious on-paper answers.
But as my colleague Luke DeCock pointed out in our Facebook Live show this week, Duke might be able to win five games and make a bowl.
There were three 5-7 teams in the postseason last year and they were picked because: A) there weren’t enough 6-win teams to fill all 80 bowl slots and B) of their APR scores.
Given Duke’s APR mastery, it would be the top 5-7 contender.