Irish to open with BYU on Sept. 4

Updated: June 1, 2004, 9:11 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame changed its schedule and will now open the season at BYU on Sept. 4, giving the Fighting Irish a game before they play Michigan.

Notre Dame didn't want to open its season against Michigan on Sept. 11, especially with the Wolverines having already played a game.

Michigan opens the season against Miami of Ohio on Sept. 4.

"For this scenario, this is something we wanted to address," John Heisler, associate athletic director at Notre Dame, said Tuesday.

The Irish are coming off a 5-7 season and were beaten 38-0 a year ago by Michigan.

The list of opponents for Notre Dame doesn't change, just the order of games. The Irish had been scheduled to play at BYU on Oct. 30.

"Our motivation was just the rhythm of the schedule," Heisler said. "When you look at our schedule big picture, you don't have consecutive road games, you've got open dates before you play USC and Tennessee. It's a more attractive flow than if we hadn't made the move."

Notre Dame had been working on the switch for months, but it appeared dead in April because so many schools had to change their schedules. The plan was revived last month, though, with some help from ESPN, Heisler said.

"We thought we'd hit a dead end, then all of a sudden there was more of an ability to continue the conversation," Heisler said.

Among other schools changing their schedules were Southern California, Stanford, Nevada and San Diego State.

Heisler said Notre Dame has promised Nevada and San Diego State games at South Bend in return for their cooperation.

San Diego State's game against Notre Dame will be in 2008. The Aztecs will also get two other televised games in return for changing their football schedule to accommodate TV.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press