AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas and Notre Dame have agreed to a four-game series starting in 2015 that brings together two of the most successful and storied programs in college football.
The Longhorns are scheduled to play in South Bend on Sept. 5, 2015. The Fighting Irish are slated to play in Austin on Sept. 3, 2016, and again on Aug. 31, 2019.
The Longhorns return to South Bend on Sept. 12, 2020.
"We are so excited we were able to schedule a four-game series with Notre Dame," Texas coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "I love college football history and nobody has more historical programs than Texas and Notre Dame. The renewal of this rivalry should be a lot of fun to be a part of and something that college football fans across the country can really enjoy."
New Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was equally happy.
"Starting a series with the Texas Longhorns is great not just for Notre Dame, but college football, and we couldn't be happier about it," he said in a statement. "When I look at the job Coach Brown has done at Texas in reviving a once proud tradition, I see many parallels to what our staff plans to do at Notre Dame. "The addition of Texas to our future schedules is just another example of the type of high-profile programs we plan on playing as an independent. We look forward to embracing our unique status within college football and continuing to schedule games against similar programs down the road."
The ability to schedule games like this is the primary reason why Notre Dame rejected the Big 10 when that conference was shopping for a 12th team. Notre Dame already plays a Big 10-heavy schedule, but it does so by scheduling the teams it wants to play, in regions it wants to recruit and in regions it wants to expand its TV audience. Why would Notre Dame agree to play Indianas and Iowas every year, forever and ever amen, when it can schedule matchups against programs like Texas? Why give up a trip to Los Angeles to play rival USC for a trip to Memorial Stadium to play Illinois?
It bears noting that USC is likely going to be hurting for years to come, thanks to the crippling NCAA sanctions handed down earlier this year. Add a complete nutball for a coach in Lane Kiffin, and it's hard to see how USC is going to be maintain their recent dominance in the series. That's my opinion. YMMV.
As for Texas, with the Big XII raided for Colorado and Nebraska, its season really does come down to the Red River Shootout, the annual matchup against Oklahoma each year in Dallas. The Big XII has two great programs and now, about eight so-so ones. Texas' strength of schedule against that kind of conference opposition may not have been enough to get it into last year's BCS Championship against Alabama. So adding a program like Notre Dame--expected to be much better under Brian Kelly going forward--makes good sense.
The first of the 'Horns and Irish matchups won't be played for another five years, but this is the kind of thing the regular college football season needs.
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