In Irish Bowl entry in this blog there was an attempt to poke fun at Notre Dame's bowl game woe's by making up a story about the Golden Dormers starting there own bowl game in New York. They wanted to be sure to invite teams they could beat. Sounds silly but in a way the rumored series with UCONN to certain point fills the bill--games at pro stadiums, a team that the Irish expect to be able to beat, and the ability to generate dollars. The questions for the Huskies are: Will this game generate enough enthusiasm about your program to off set the loss of a home game and what is you slice of the pie?
While the on field product has been less than spectacular and the management of Crewcut Charlie is in doubt, Kevin White has leveraged the position of the historic program to maximize the value of the property. Mr. White, like Notre Dame or not, is pushing the right buttons to make (keep) his program a true national brand. Look at the schedule grid from Mike at http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/5696/sched-f.htm adding these games with UCONN would fill the need to exposure in the New York/New England area and improving on the position left open by the apparent end of the series with Boston College. The pledge by Notre Dame to play three Big East schools in football each year--Pitt, Rutgers and now UCONN is looking like a shrewd move rather than as charity. (Note that Notre Dame will host South Florida in 2011 as part of a one and done.)
Notre Dame has a schedule over the next eight years that takes them to the East Coast: USC, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, and BYU; Texas/Oklahoma: San Antonio (v. Baylor) Arlington (v. Washington State), and Oklahoma; Florida (Orlando in 2011 and 2014 v. TBD); the Northeast: Boston College. Navy, UCONN, and Rutgers; and the home turf of the Mid West: Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh, and Michigan State. The big holes are in SEC/ACC country (more than just Florida) but then how much headway are the Irish going to make in those markets.
Then we still have the UCONN issue which the fans are understandably upset about and while you can understand their anger these games have the potential to make the Huskies a regional powerhouse in the void that is college football in New England. The University of Connecticut football program has put all the correct pieces into place but they need games that squarely put them in the spotlight. A win against Notre Dame regardless of the venue can go along way toward establishing your college football reputation.
You too can have the above Lucky Charms outfit.