Notre Dame Football: 2014 Trip to Arizona State Still On

Matt Smith@MattSmithCFBCorrespondent IIIJune 11, 2013

Sept. 24, 2011; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly shakes hands with Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Todd Graham before the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With last fall's announcement that Notre Dame would be playing five games annually against ACC opponents beginning in 2014, it became clear that some tinkering to the Irish's future schedules was necessary.

One of the games thought to be in jeopardy was a 2014 game at Arizona State, the second of a three-game series between the Irish and Sun Devils that included a 2013 game in Arlington, Texas and a 2017 game at Notre Dame Stadium.

Arizona State announced Tuesday that the game would be played as scheduled, with the only change being that it would move back two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 8. The teams have met just twice previously, as the Irish swept a home-and-home series in 1998 and 1999.

"We're pleased that Notre Dame was able to resolve its scheduling issues in a way that allows it to play at Sun Devil Stadium in 2014," said ASU athletics director Steve Patterson.

"The game will now be played on Nov. 8, 2014. Our entire Sun Devil family--season ticket holders, fans, students, alumni--and our entire community here in the Valley have been looking forward to playing Notre Dame in Tempe since the original agreement was signed in 2008."

In April, ESPN reported that Notre Dame was dropping its trip to Tempe in order to fit its five ACC games into its schedule. Whatever dispute existed, if any, was apparently resolved.

However, per the release, the scheduled 2017 game at Notre Dame will not be played.

The Irish now currently have 14 games scheduled for 2014, with two games needing to be dropped. The most likely candidates to be removed are Aug. 30 vs. Rice, Sept. 13 vs. Purdue and Oct. 11 at Temple. 

Notre Dame's five ACC games in 2014 are Louisville, North Carolina and Wake Forest in South Bend and road games at Florida State and Syracuse. The game with the Orange will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Annual rivalry games with Navy, Stanford and USC are also on the schedule, as is the final game in the Michigan series before a hiatus. A home game with Northwestern is the final game currently scheduled. Of the five ACC games, only the Syracuse game has had an actual date (Oct. 4) determined.

The future of the Notre Dame-Purdue series is uncertain at this time, as the Big Ten will move to nine conference games beginning in 2016. Purdue will play five conference road games in even-numbered years, which does not align with their biennial trips to South Bend, which also occur in even years.

If the Purdue series does end, for awhile at least, after 2013, Notre Dame may attempt to move either the Rice or Temple games back a year or two to get down to 12 games. The Irish currently have one opening on their 2015 schedule.

Notre Dame's presence in the Southwest should also boost recruiting in an area Brian Kelly and staff have emphasised. Notre Dame signed cornerback Cole Luke from Chandler, Arizona in February and is targeting Scottsdale, Arizona wide receiver Mark Andrews in the 2014 class. The Irish also signed Davonte Neal in 2012, but Neal transferred to Arizona after last season.

It will be the fourth time in five years that Kelly and Sun Devils coach Todd Graham will square off, all in different stadiums. They met at Notre Dame in 2010 when Graham was at Tulsa and in 2011 at Heinz Field while Graham was in his lone season at Pittsburgh. They'll play at Cowboys Stadium this October, followed by the 2014 game at Sun Devil Stadium.

There are more scheduling tweaks remaining for Notre Dame in order to accommodate its ACC games. Expect a full 2014 schedule to be finalized prior to the start of the 2013 season.