We knew in June, when Notre Dame announced it was going to play Georgia in 2019 and wanted to move its 2019 game against Texas that more news would be coming with regard to scheduling between the Irish and Longhorns.
Notre Dame sports information director Michael Bertsch confirmed to HD today (Friday) the cancellation of the 2019 (Austin) and 2020 (South Bend) games against Texas.
The Irish have already announced games against Texas A&M in 2024 and 2025.
I asked Bertsch if AD Jack Swarbrick was on a spite kick after canceling ND's long-time series with Michigan and announcing a future series with Ohio State the week of the final game of the ND-Michigan series - only to turn around and announce a future series with Texas A&M as it was canceling the 2019 and 2020 games against Texas?
He laughed and said no.
But I'm not so sure.
Swarbrick and former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds had an incredibly close relationship.
Swarbrick told me in South Bend two years ago he considered Dodds a mentor as an AD in many ways. (Swarbrick was a finalist for the Big 12 commissioner job that went to Dan Beebe. I'm told Dodds backed Swarbrick.)
I could never see Swarbrick canceling games with Texas if Dodds was still AD.
Meanwhile, Swarbrick's relationship with Steve Patterson has been anything but warm. Frigid is more like it.
While the AD at Arizona State, Patterson publicly called out Notre Dame on a sports talk radio show in April of 2013 for trying to cancel the game the Irish will play at Sun Devil Stadium Nov. 8 this season.
Patterson went on Phoenix radio station XTRA Sports 910 AM in April of 2013 and said:
"The school didn't have the courtesy to have the athletic director (Jack Swarbrick) call the athletic director at ASU to discuss it. They had their PR guy call (ASU's media relations office) to give us a message Friday afternoon while everybody was out of town at the Final Four.
"At least in the little Catholic town I grew up in (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin) the good nuns wouldn’t have thought that was a very appropriate way to honor your word."
Patterson, trying to generate excitement in ASU's football program, didn't want to lose a marquee home game and wouldn't let the Irish out of the contract. Totally understandable. And the game remained on the schedule.
But Swarbrick, who is fiercely competitive, probably didn't forget being called out by Patterson.
I asked Bertsch if the cancellation of the Texas games by the Irish had anything to do with bad blood between Swarbrick and Patterson, and he said no.
Bertsch said the Irish are looking forward to the 2015 (South Bend) and 2016 (Austin) games against Texas and was simply looking to schedule some different opponents that hadn't been on the ND schedule in a while.
Meanwhile, Texas and Michigan - two of the winningest programs in the history of college football, who both just so happened to be discarded by the Irish in the past month, have announced a series in 2024 (Ann Arbor) and 2027 (Austin).
Without saying anything publicly this time, that was probably Patterson's way of letting Swarbrick know he was no longer at a school desperate to schedule marquee home matchups ... and that Texas would have no problem moving on.
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