Arkansas Game Officially Off The Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s 2020 Football Schedule Due To The SEC’s Decision
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Arkansas Game Officially Off Notre Dame’s 2020 Schedule

Notre Dame must make a choice in deciding its one non-conference opponent for the 2020 season as part of the ACC’s schedule plan it agreed to join.

One option is now no longer in play.

The SEC announced Thursday a move to a 10-game conference-only schedule that starts Sept. 26 — axing 54 non-conference games, including Arkansas’ scheduled Sept. 12 trip to Notre Dame.

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Notre Dame fifth-year senior quarterback Ian Book versus Virginia Tech in 2019
Notre Dame has one less option to choose from in deciding on its non-conference opponent for 2020. (AP)

The news came one day after the ACC announced an 11-game schedule — 10 league games and one non-conference game — with Notre Dame included. The Irish can play for the league championship and are de facto conference members for the 2020 season.

Every ACC team is allowed to pick its non-conference opponent. Notre Dame initially had a few options to choose from — Navy, Western Michigan and Arkansas — at the time of the ACC’s announcement. Now, only Navy and Western Michigan remain after the SEC’s move. The Irish could also schedule someone entirely new.

The ACC’s plan requires the non-conference game to take place in the ACC team’s home state and said the season will not start any earlier than Sept. 7. Playing Arkansas would have required no movement of location and possibly no change in date.

Western Michigan and Notre Dame had an original date of Sept. 19 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Mid-American Conference, of which Western Michigan is a member, has not announced any plans for a revised schedule.

Navy, which has played Notre Dame every year since 1927, is scheduled for Sept. 5 or 6 in Annapolis, Md. The game has already been moved once, from an initial date of Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland. If the series is to continue, it will need to move to Indiana and move dates yet again. The American Athletic Conference has not announced any plans that would affect Navy’s ability to play the game.

The Razorbacks’ visit to South Bend would have been their first-ever game against the Fighting Irish. The game was the first leg of a home-and-home series announced in 2017. The return game in Fayetteville, Ark., is scheduled for Oct. 4, 2025.

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