Notre Dame fills 2010 slate with Western Michigan and Tulsa

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Well, any hope that Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick was using his high-level negotiating skills to wheel and deal an exciting home game for next season has officially gone out the window. That’s because Notre Dame and Western Michigan  signed on the dotted line and agreed to play next season on October 16th. Joining the 2010 slate is the long rumored matchup with Tulsa, another head scratching addition to the Notre Dame schedule.

I’m not ready to hammer away at Swarbrick for the Tulsa game. They’re an up and coming team that has put a nice little run together, even with a loss to UTEP on Wednesday night. Yet combining the Tulsa tilt with the  “historic” game against Western Michigan does nothing except prove that Swarbrick is stuck trying to fix a gigantic hole in the scheduling puzzle with only corner pieces. Former athletic director Kevin White’s 7-4-1 scheduling philosophy comes and rears its ugly head, and the product is a schedule with Tulsa, Western Michigan, and Army on it, and nearly as many neutral site games as away ones. For the most part, Swarbrick is trying to say all the right things.

“We had one opening left on our 2010 schedule, and Western Michigan was able to move some things and get it done. We’re thrilled because there is great value in having teams play here that are coming from close by. The fans from Western Michigan will make this a difficult ticket, and there’s always energy in the stadium when you play someone from not far away,” commented Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

Ugh. When you’re touting geographic location as one of the main virtues of an opponent, you know that it’s tough to stomach this one. This completes one of the more odd Notre Dame schedules ever, with 7 home games at Notre Dame Stadium, three true road games, and two neutral site matchups, one at Yankee Stadium and the other in the Meadowlands.

It’s not hard to hear the bellyaching of Irish detractors already starting when Notre Dame is being touted in preseason polls next season. Here’s the official schedule for the 2010 Irish.

Sept. 4 PURDUE (NBC)
Sept. 11 MICHIGAN (NBC)
Sept. 18 at Michigan State
Sept. 25 STANFORD (NBC)
Oct. 2 at Boston College
Oct. 9 PITTSBURGH (NBC)
Oct. 16 W. MICHIGAN (NBC)
Oct. 23 vs. Navy — at the Meadowlands
Oct. 30 TULSA (NBC)
Nov. 13 UTAH (NBC)
Nov. 20 vs. Army (NBC) — at Yankee Stadium
Nov. 27 at Southern California