Notre Dame Football Rivalry Games vs. USC, Stanford Canceled As Pac-12 Makes Move To Conference-Only Schedule
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Notre Dame Games Vs. USC, Stanford Canceled As Pac-12 Goes Conference-Only

Two of Notre Dame’s annual rivalries — and one of college football’s most recognizable series — are officially off for 2020.

The Pac-12 announced Friday it is moving to a conference-only season, squashing 42 non-conference games including Notre Dame’s Nov. 28 trip to USC and Oct. 10 home game versus Stanford. The decision was an expected one and widely reported Thursday as an imminent move.

Notre Dame’s schedule is down to nine games with the two Pac-12 schools and Wisconsin axed from the original slate. Furthermore, two of the longest-running rivalries the Irish play have ended a streak of consecutive seasons.

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Notre Dame versus USC
This year will be the first since 1945 where Notre Dame and USC won’t play. (BGI/Bill Panzica)

Stanford and Notre Dame have played every year since 1997 and 34 times overall. Meanwhile, this season will mark the first time since 1945 the Irish and Trojans have not played. They have met 91 times and have taken only one break since the series started in 1926, a three-year hiatus during World War II from 1943-45.

Notre Dame’s schedule now has openings on Oct. 3 (was Wisconsin), Oct. 10 (Stanford), Oct. 24 (scheduled off week) and Nov. 28 (USC). The game versus Wisconsin would have been played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., but was technically an Irish home game. Stanford was a home game, while USC was a road trip as it is in even-numbered years.

There are currently five games on the schedule that are NBC’s broadcast rights, down from the usual seven, an item that could conceivably come up in discussions about replacement games.

The strategy for makeup games is not yet clear, but a likely outcome is adding more games versus the ACC. Notre Dame already has six of them scheduled this year. If the ACC moves to a conference-only schedule, the expectation is for Notre Dame to be included as part of it and have matchups added. Commissioner John Swofford has previously said the ACC will assist Notre Dame as needed in adding games.

Excluding ACC teams, the other three games on Notre Dame’s schedule are Navy (Sept. 5) Arkansas (Sept. 12) and Western Michigan (Sept. 19). None of their respective conferences — the American Athletic, SEC and Mid-American — have announced any changes to their schedule.

Navy and Notre Dame have played every year since 1927, 93 times in all. It’s the third longest never interrupted rivalry in college football. Arkansas and Notre Dame have never played, and the Irish have faced Western Michigan three times.

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