Notre Dame confirmed multiple reports regarding their upcoming Shamrock Series football games, and the Boston College Eagles will, in fact, play the Fighting Irish in the 2015 edition of the game. Notre Dame will host the off-site home game on November 21st, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., as the teams renew the Battle for the Ireland Trophy from Fenway Park in Boston.
It will be the first time football is being played at Fenway since the Boston Patriots played there in 1968. There has been no college football since the 1950s, when BC vacated to move to Alumni Field on campus.
The game will give Notre Dame and BC a chance to renew their rivalry after two years of dormant action. A relatively young series compared to some of the others around college football, it became intense very quickly as the two met for a semi-annual game between the only two Catholic schools in Division I's Football Bowl Subdivision. The Irish met the Eagles at Notre Dame Stadium in 1992, pummeling BC in a game infamous for the fake punt called by Lou Holtz while already up 42-7. The next year, Notre Dame beat Florida State to become the #1 team in the nation, only to lose the next week when David Gordon split the uprights for what might've been his only kick over 40 yards.
After BC destroyed the 8th-ranked Irish at Alumni Stadium in 1994, Notre Dame won four of the next five games to take a 9-3 series lead (the only win over that stretch came in 1998 when BC made the Irish bowl ineligible). But the Eagles won the next six games, including a 14-0 win over the 4th-ranked Irish in 2002 (Notre Dame wore their green jerseys in that game). During that span, the rivalry went dormant for two years as BC transitioned to the ACC. It returned for Matt Ryan's only game and win over the Irish in 2007 and another win in 2008 to even the series at 9-9. But Notre Dame won the next four over the Frank Spaziani era to take a 13-9 series lead.
Excited to play Notre Dame - in Boston - in 2015, 2017! http://t.co/dD3lNXP6ZP— Brad Bates (@BCBradBates) December 20, 2013
Since rebooting in 1992, the rivalry has never been dormant for more than two seasons. Having not played in 2013 and not scheduled to play in 2014, Notre Dame expressed interest in keeping the rivalry alive between the two schools. But the Irish only preserved three historic rivals - Stanford, USC, and Navy - with their scheduling agreement with the ACC. In order to keep from not scheduling the Eagles until 2017, Notre Dame visited Fenway Park to ensure they would be able to fit a football field in the stadium's new dimensions (which have been altered slightly since the 60s). After ensuring they would avoid what happened with Northwestern at Wrigley Field (where play was banned from a side of the field too close to the right field wall), Notre Dame sought and succeeded in getting the game worked out.
The Irish partially joined the ACC in football by taking on five ACC conference games in a "6-5-1" schedule format. Notre Dame will play six home games, five road games, and one neutral site game where they will be designated home team as part of the Shamrock Series. This past year, Notre Dame played the game at AT&T Field in Arlington, and they've previously played at places like the Alamodome in San Antonio, FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland; Yankee Stadium in the Bronx; and Soldier Field in Chicago.
While Notre Dame is the designated home team for the Shamrock Series, BC will also host the Fighting Irish in 2017 at Alumni Stadium in a regularly scheduled game as part of the ACC scheduling arrangement. By that time, it's possible that both teams could be peaking as Brian Kelley rebuilds after the losses of his national championship runner up team and the loss of both his offensive and defensive coordinators. The Eagles, meanwhile, could also be peaking under what will be full slates of recruits (the first two or three batches) for head coach Steve Addazio. The possibility of this game as a late season game (the game being played in November, 2015) adds to the intrigue, as both teams could be positioning for a high-ranking bowl berth.
Be sure to sound off below with your thoughts about this rivalry moving forward!