As you may have heard, BYU is in need of some football games this Fall. After the Pac 12, Big 10, MAC, and MWC postponements, BYU is left with Navy, Houston, and North Alabama as current opponents.
Simply getting opponents is the goal for BYU, but getting at least one P5 opponent would add juice to the schedule.
The P5 opponent BYU should go after is Notre Dame. Notre Dame is part of the ACC this season, and the ACC is doing a 10+1 scheduling model. Notre Dame’s non-conference game was supposed to be Western Michigan, but that is no longer happening after the MAC postponed its season. Now, Notre Dame is looking for an opponent.
In an ideal world, Notre Dame would fulfill its contract and play BYU in Provo. That can’t happen this year since ACC non-conference games have to take place in a state where an ACC team resides. Notre Dame also seems perfectly content kicking the can down the road and not coming to Provo.
We don’t live in an ideal world, so BYU should absolutely make concessions and play Notre Dame Saturday, September 19 in South Bend, Indiana. Let me lay out the case why and what would need to happen.
BYU needs to make concessions to Notre Dame
I get it, BYU doesn’t owe Notre Dame anything. We should make them come to Provo. But these are desperate times and the right moves could place BYU in a great spot coming out of this pandemic. BYU should tell Notre Dame they’ll play in South Bend and doing so will fulfill Notre Dame’s obligation of coming to Provo. Notre Dame, in return, should pay BYU’s travel and COVID testing expenses.
BYU needs opponents, especially quality opponents
BYU needs any opponent it can get. Army, Liberty, and other G5 schools will probably schedule BYU, and that is great. Even if Notre Dame was the only high-end game on the schedule, fans and players would have that game circled on the calendar as the premier game of the year. The game could also have recruiting ramifications, which brings me to my next point.
BYU-Notre Dame would get massive ratings
Notre Dame was scheduled to play Western Michigan 9/19. If BYU-Notre Dame happened on that day, it would get HUGE ratings. The SEC isn’t playing games on that day, the Big 12 doesn’t appear to be playing in any games then, and the rest of the ACC is playing cupcakes. Imagine BYU-Notre Dame as the stand alone, premier college football game on that date on NBC. Every college football fan would be watching BYU. Recruits would be watching BYU. And you know what, it wouldn’t hurt for recruits to watch BYU play on national tv versus Notre Dame when Utah, the Pac 12, and MWC schools are sitting on the sidelines.
And if BYU won? The upside/recognition for BYU’s program would be huge and would more than outweigh the down side of Notre Dame not coming to Provo. BYU has historically played P5 opponents well in September, and I would expect the game to be competitive.
College football is in a state right now where we could see a major shift, so BYU needs to be on the forefront making its case for why it belongs with the top tier of college programs. Making concessions to Notre Dame would hurt our pride, but the upside coming out of the pandemic could put BYU in a great spot.