The Irish and the Longhorns are close to agreeing to a 4 game contract starting in 2015. This is a scheduling I can get behind. While I like playing (and beating) Purdue, Texas is a huge step up and the best opponent The Irish will play those four years. USC is not going to be as good under Lane as they were under Pete, Pete built a great program no doubt about it, but Lane as long as he is there, (under 5 years if you ask me) the program will settle into a team that wins the Pac-10? once in awhile instead of every year. Texas will be THE PROGRAM outside of the SEC for as long as Mack Brown wants it to be.
The hit by Bryan Westbrook is still one of the best hits I've ever seen and the two games in the mid-nineties are great memories I have of an ND that wasn't scared to play anybody. That didn't include Tulsa and Western Michigan, Army is a historical match-up that I don't mind but shouldn't be an annual game by any means. I like that The Irish play Michigan, Navy, Michigan State and USC every year, if you include Purdue, BC and Pitt in annual opponents it's hard to schedule under the current 7-4-1 schedule. I wouldn't mind going to a 6-5-1 in the future but I don't think Swarbrick is interested in more road games (somebody has to pay for the non-revenue squads to go to South Florida). Notre Dame is dropping Stanford and I fear that they are going to schedule a weaker opponent in their place.
I prefer the toughest opponents we can schedule and I think the Big Ten is going to have openings in November now that they are going to a Championship Game in December. Hi, Wisconsin/Iowa/Nebraska/Penn State/Ohio State would you care to play a home and home? How about a 4 game series with two home games (one each) and two neutral site games? UConn/South Florida/West Virginia/Cincinnati would also be interested I imagine. The Big 12 outside of Texas is going to need some good non-conference games as well so say hello to Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Texas Tech/Texas A&M welcome them to South Bend under the same agreements.
The Irish should not be playing Western Michigan and Tulsa under any circumstances, even trading them in for lesser teams from BCS conferences isn't a terrible idea. Oh, hi, ACC, Virginia Tech/Florida State/Wake Forest/Georgia Tech/Clemson could probably find a way to sneak ND onto their schedule. The SEC houses multiple teams that would enhance any teams schedule while Alabama/Georgia/FLORIDA/Ole Miss/LSU have not shown a real interest in playing road games out of conference, putting The Irish on their home schedule should be enticing enough for them. If ND is going to play non-BCS teams, how about BYU or Boise State? Build on the Utah game as well.
Play the best, beat the best. I think this is how ND became ND. They should continue this. A schedule featuring SCUofM, MSU, BC, USC, Navy, an SEC team, a Big 12? team, another Pac-10? team, however many Big East teams we have to play and wildcards of another ACC team, another Big Ten? team, or an extra Big East team should be who ND plays.
Texas and Miami should be just the beginning on future schedules, not something to fall back on.