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2011 schedule begins paradigm shift for Irish

Sep 27, 2010, 1:56 PM EDT

Michigan v Notre Dame Getty Images

Both Air Force and Wake Forest confirmed this weekend that they’d be playing Notre Dame in 2011, effectively finalizing the schedule for next season. And while its been hinted at by both Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbrick, we can now see with great certainty that the 7-4-1 scheduling model of former athletic director Kevin White is gone.

While Notre Dame stays silent on all scheduling until the slate is complete, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Colorado Springs Gazette that the Falcons would visit South Bend on October 8 next year, with the Irish traveling to Air Force in 2013. The Irish haven’t played Air Force since 2007.

“This means a lot to us,” Mueh told the Gazette. “They recognize the great relationship we’ve had through the years.”

Meanwhile, Wake Forest confirmed a long-discussed series with the Irish, with athletic director Ron Wellman announcing that Notre Dame will head to Winston-Salem to take on the Demon Deacons on November 5th. Wake is already on the Irish home slate for 2012, but the Deacons will play the return game of the two-game set in November, 2015.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our football team to compete against one of the most storied football programs in the nation,” Wellman said in a statement.

Here’s the Irish 2011 schedule, with only Boston College still to be determined:

3-Sep	H	USF
10-Sep	A	Michigan
17-Sep	H	Michigan State
24-Sep	A	Pittsburgh
1-Oct	A	Purdue
8-Oct	H	Air Force
22-Oct	H	Southern Cal
29-Oct	H	Navy
5-Nov	A	Wake Forest
12-Nov	N	Maryland
26-Nov	A	Stanford
TBD	H	Boston College

For those of you scoring at home, that’s six home games, five away games, and one neutral site game at Fed Ex Field against Maryland. Just like this season, the Irish play six legit games to open the year, with little margin for error in the opening six weeks, and USC waiting after an off-week. (A slight upgrade from Western Michigan on the 2010 schedule…)

While the home stretch seems a little bit more manageable with Navy, Wake Forest, Maryland, most likely BC, and Stanford, Kelly will have to get used to a difficult opening quarter of the season, as the next few years have the Irish facing top-flight opponents from the get-go.

  1. papadec1 - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Keith, I know I’m gettin’ old, and my memory ain’t what it used to be. But – I thought I read something earlier this year that beginning in 2011 ND would be playing 3 games/year with Big East teams. That UConn was scheduled for 11/5. Also, that ND was playing Army on 10/15 @ Orlando, FL. I guess it ain’t official – ’til it’s official.

  2. Chris - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Uh looking at that slate, and I don’t see anything comparable to W Michigan or even Tulsa. Yes, Wake and Maryland aren’t necessarily heavy weights anymore, but still, at this point, I don’t really see any cream puff games (Nevada last year, anyone?) that we can expect to truly whip someone. Wow

  3. TLNDMA - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Chis agree, no off days on that slate. I wonder how Kelly feels about that? You know no coach in the SEC would stand for it.

  4. mrrandolph - Sep 28, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    You got to be kidding about the no coach in the SEC reference. Tennessee would win 8 games with that schedule and they have had 3 coaches in three years.

  5. Don Buczynski jr - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    With the way Tenn. has played over those three coaching tenurs,
    I see six games that they should not just pencil in as wins.
    At this point I think you and your SEC team should be like
    Irish fans at this point and never expect anything until
    our respective programs get back to where they once were.

  6. TLNDMA - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    I meant that there are no “bunniies” on next yrs. ND schedule. Now let’s look at Tenn.’s schedule. Hmm, Tenn. Martin, UAB, Memphis, what’s up doc? Bunnies. Just like every SEC team and a lot of other teams, there are 2-3 games that it is neer impossible to lose. ND has a couple this year.
    Now about Tenn. winning eight games, I bet you’d feel more confident about that statement if they hadn’t gotten drilled by Oregon, and taken into OT by UAB. Losing that UAB game would have been a little embarrassing, eh?

  7. Pete Aerts - Sep 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    tennessee would not win 5 games with that schedule….they have more turmoil in their program than the Irish…maybe in 2 or 3 years after getting settled in with dooley….even after a tough SEC game those teams play a cup cake the next week and sometimes two weeks in a row..

  8. jmdc - Sep 30, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    The only way Notre Dame would have a shot at a BSC bowl game each year would be to join the Big East. The glory days are a faded memory and won’t be back until they get a real coach.

  9. mrrandolph - Oct 1, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    They would win 5 of the first six and 4 of the next 6. They have more turmoil but also more talent.

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