Northwestern's previously scheduled 2014 game at Notre Dame appeared to be in jeopardy when the Fighting Irish announced that they had formed a new partnership with the ACC, stating that Notre Dame must play five ACC teams every year. That meant there was a possibility the Irish would be forced to drop one game among the group of Rice, Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan to make room on their schedule for another ACC game. However, when Notre Dame announced its 2014 schedule today, the Wildcats made the cut.
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Only four ACC teams were listed, inconsistent with the original agreement, but ESPN's Andrea Adelson explained the nuance:
The joint announcement, made Friday, is part of the scheduling agreement Notre Dame made with the ACC when it decided to join the league in all sports but football. Because of previous schedule commitments, Notre Dame will face four ACC teams in 2014. Wake Forest, initially scheduled to play Notre Dame in 2014, will now face the Irish in 2015 -- giving Notre Dame six ACC games.
So it looks like NU's 2014 football schedule is set. The Wildcats will play home games against Cal, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois, and away games against Penn State, Minnesota, Iowa, Notre Dame and Purdue. That's a pretty good schedule for NU fans. The Big Ten home slate of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois is intriguing, as are non-conference games against Cal and area MAC power NIU. Away games against Iowa, Notre Dame and Purdue are all easy to travel to.
There's no word yet on NU's 2018 home game against Notre Dame, but that game seemed less likely to be shelved than the 2014 on because it was planned so far in advance. Plus, it's the other end of a home-and-home. So it looks like the Wildcats will avoid another Vanderbilt situation and avoid scrambling to find another MAC school to play.