SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal #22 of the University of Southern California Trojans tries to hold off Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Notre Dame to the ACC! Sort of. USC has now won 12 of its last 13 games and Stanford has now won its last six games against the ACC! Sort of.
The Notre Dame vs. USC rivalry makes sense. But Stanford? Really? Why do the Irish want to trip to Palo Alto every year? The only reason I could think Notre Dame would want to keep this rivalry going is recruiting: An ability to immediately end every regular season with a few nice weeks scouting remaining California talent, hand out the early offers all over the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and grab whatever prospects they can get their hands on. Notre Dame loves grabbing great California talent every season as part of one of their critical national pipelines to keep the coffers full.
The Notre Dame vs. USC matchup makes sense from every aspect in addition to recruiting. The Notre Dame vs. Stanford matchup only seems to make sense from a recruiting standpoint. It is a rivalry game with little bite on either side.
The Notre Dame vs. Stanford rivalry could also force the Big Game to not be the final game for Cal in the near future, since Notre Dame always seeks to end every season on Thanksgiving weekend. Cal doesn't seem to be too keen on playing the Big Game Thanksgiving weekend anyway, probably meaning the team ends their season with another lower-profile matchup.