Irish, ACC seek scheduling flexibility

Notre Dame will be a partial member of the ACC in football after this season. In Year 1, the Irish might have just a one-third partnership.

The school is trying to move one of its five scheduled ACC games for next fall to the 2015 season, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told ESPN.com on Tuesday. That would free up a 2014 Irish schedule that currently has 13 contracted opponents for 12 available slots. Notre Dame would still play the obligated 15 ACC games over the next three seasons, since the 2015 slate would then have six ACC opponents.

"The ACC schedule bites a lot of that up, and then there's still some long-term commitments going back to Knute Rockne that tie our hands," Kelly said. "So when you're locked into some contracts — Navy for one, Stanford, USC, Purdue — now you're talking about six ACC games, and then another three or four. It doesn't give me much wiggle room. So as much as I'd like to say that I'm at the forefront of shaping a schedule, there's not a lot of wiggle room in these schedules right now. We're trying to do our best to balance it out, and I think 2014, you're going to see four ACC teams, and then in '15 I think we're going to get to six."

Notre Dame has yet to announce its 2014 schedule dates and times, though it had been under contract to play home games against Michigan, Purdue, Northwestern, Rice and Stanford, with road games at Navy, Arizona State and USC, in addition to a neutral-site game against Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J., as part of New York's College Classic. (That contest had long been scheduled for Sept. 27, 2014.)

The game against the Orange was then weaved into one of the five that Notre Dame would play against ACC opponents as part of their five-games-per-year agreement, which includes home contests against Louisville, North Carolina and Wake Forest and a road game at Florida State.

Kelly said the ACC has been flexible in working with Notre Dame on its schedules. Navy, Stanford and USC are the only schools virtually assured of staying on the Irish's annual schedule moving forward, essentially giving them eight set games each year when accounting for the five ACC games.

Notre Dame's 2015 ACC games are currently home contests against Boston College and Virginia Tech and road games at Clemson, Pittsburgh and Virginia.

For 2016, the Irish are currently scheduled to host Duke, Miami and Virginia Tech, and play a road game at NC State. They are also slated for that season's version of New York's College Classic as well, also against Syracuse.

Notre Dame only announces full-season schedules with dates, though the school has been hoping to unveil its 2014-16 schedules together once they are finalized.