Late-season collapses have become a yearly occurrence at Notre Dame in recent years. This year as perhaps the most disappointing, as it really appeared as though the Irish were contenders in the College Football Playoff.
But then Notre Dame was outscored in its final three games by 44 points. Comparatively, the Irish posted a margin of victory above 25 in their first eight wins.
The source of this latest collapse? Head coach Brian Kelly argued his team was simply worn down in November.
"I don't think we were worn down physically. I think we were worn down mentally and emotionally." – Brian Kelly on #NotreDame's Nov.
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) December 3, 2017
Well if the Irish were worn down from trips to south Florida and then northern California in the span of 15 days, then they could have major problems next year.
On Thursday, Notre Dame announced that the program will give up a home game to play Syracuse at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on Nov. 17, 2018. With that location change, six of Notre Dame’s final nine games next year will be away from South Bend.
And we’re not talking about trips to Ann Arbor or East Lansing. In the final month of the season, Notre Dame will play a game in San Diego, New York City, and Los Angeles. The total mileage the team will travel after Oct. 25 could be upwards of 5,000 miles.
As the Notre Dame finish to this season indicated, this is not a recipe for success.
Sure, playing in three different time zones, including twice on the west coast, down the stretch next year will spread the Irish brand, but at what cost? It’s hard to envision Notre Dame winning all of its final nine games when six are away from home. And the Irish open the season with a tough home test (as it did this season versus Georgia) against Michigan.
Spreading the brand is important for recruiting, but there is no better way to build a brand than by winning. With its schedule, Notre Dame gave itself a competitive disadvantage to win in 2018.
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