Irish to the rescue: Dabo says with 8-game schedule 'anything is possible'

Decision provides needed flexibility for Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks with players during pre-game warm ups.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks with players during pre-game warm ups.

Notre Dame to the rescue.

Clemson has high-level, non-conference scheduling opportunities again, thanks to the addition of the Fighting Irish to the ACC.

"Tim Bourret (Clemson sports information director and Notre Dame grad) is taking all the credit," quipped Swinney after practice on Wednesday. "Notre Dame has saved the day once again...It's a huge positive."

'It' is the ACC's decision to abandon its plans for an expanded nine-game conference football schedule, and a return to an eight-game model involving the 14 full members of the conference, beginning in 2013.

By dropping the ninth game, the schedules of all ACC members will be more flexible in regard to the five games Notre Dame will play against conference members each season.

For Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, it means even more. All three schools are committed to their season-ending rivalry games against SEC opponents. Thus the nine-game requirement took away almost all flexibility in scheduling, given Clemson's business model of playing seven home games each season.

"It's good for our conference and the flexibility in our schedule," said Swinney. "Especially with Notre Dame coming it, it allows us to keep our home schedule intact. It's important not just for the university, but for the community. I'm really happy to hear that."

All the details of how the new schedule will work have not been revealed, but Swinney says the periodic games against Notre Dame will have an impact on what Clemson will be able to do in regard to scheduling opponents like Auburn and Georgia in the future.

"I think Notre Dame will play a factor, but I do think this will open the door to be able to keep those kinds of games," he said. "The Auburn series has been great. Playing those kinds of teams is a way to really gauge your team against outside competition. And everybody's really jacked up about the Georgia series, which is great for college football and great for Clemson and Georgia people.

"It allows us that flexibility - whether it be another series with Georgia or whoever it may be. We had Ole Miss and Oklahoma State on there, but the nine-game thing pretty much put that out the door.

"But now I'd say that anything is possible."

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