October 6, 2012, Soldier Field
October 8, 2016, Notre Dame Stadium
November 25, 2017, Sun Life Stadium
Many Notre Dame freshmen and sophomores weren't alive in 1990, the last time we played "The U." Based on my observations as a student the past few years, current ND kids recall two things about the legendary series:
1. The Catholics vs. Convicts nickname and shirt
2. Rocket Ismail's involvement and recent discussion of the games
While the '88 pre-game fight and even Holtz's "Save Jimmy Johnson for me!" line are remembered, too, the continuity of student section shirt unity and Rocket's on-campus presence make these two factors stand out. Today's students will remember Rocket's fire at pep rallies, and his recollection of the '88 Miami game is also a current favorite:
Notre Dame's players and students—especially of the future—have a great series on the horizon. Something for the future, yes, but also a responsibility to uphold our 15-7-1 series lead.
Two other sidebars about the games: The 2012 date, which continues ND's history at Soldier Field, means a heavy October '12 for the Irish, including the reportedly unsigned but likely game at Oklahoma.
The 2017 date at Miami is Thanksgiving Saturday in an odd year, the biannual weekend when ND typically plays at Stanford. The Miami '17 game represents another strong sign that Notre Dame is moving away from the Stanford series, which is already scheduled to end after the 2011 season.
While the oddly scheduled Miami dates do not constitute a replacement for Stanford, the home-road-neutral trifecta with a name program is a huge coup for Swarbrick and other administrators who control football scheduling. ND's ability to place the neutral game in Chicago is a favorable bonus to this already-sweet deal.
|ESPN.com July 23, 2010|