Irish have asked BYU to play Sept. 4

Updated: May 27, 2004, 9:42 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame still isn't sure which team it will play first next football season.

Notre Dame is scheduled to open the season Sept. 11 at home against Michigan. But the Wolverines will have already played a game Sept. 4 against Miami of Ohio.

The Irish are trying to move their Oct. 30 game at BYU to Sept. 4 so the Wolverines won't have an advantage from already having played a game.

The problem is, BYU is scheduled to play Southern Cal on Sept. 4.

To try to accommodate the Irish, BYU is trying to switch its game with USC to Sept. 18, the South Bend Tribune reported Thursday. But the Cougars are scheduled to play Stanford that day. So the Cougars are trying to reschedule that game as well.

That would affect other teams' schedules as well.

"It's as complicated as anything we've seen in a while," said John Heisler, associate athletic director at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame had been trying to change the date for months. Just last month after the spring game, coach Tyrone Willingham said there was no chance the Irish would play a game before the Michigan game. But Heisler said talks about changing the game revived earlier this month.

"The key to this thing is a handful of people feeling that this is something that will work for them," Heisler said. "That's what makes it complicated. It's a different set of circumstances for everyone on that list."

Heisler said he couldn't estimate the odds of Notre Dame being able to make the switch, but said the deal was closer to becoming reality on Thursday than it ever has been.

"It's kind of day-to-day if not hour-to-hour," he said. "It's kind of based on the most recent phone calls that have been made."

Heisler said he doesn't know how long the Irish can wait before giving up on moving up their opening game.

"The complicated part is it's late in the year to be pulling this thing off when there are so many moving parts," he said. "What's so time-consuming is trying to figure out if you can get all the pieces to work and fit."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press