For Notre Dame fans, 2012 was a dream season that ended in a nightmare. The Fighting Irish went 12-0, barreling through four ranked teams, including two top 10 squads on the road, on the way to the national title game.
However, that was before one storied franchise met another, and Alabama wrote a humiliating chapter in Notre Dame’s history by crushing the Irish, 42-14.
Jack Swarbrick, entering his 10th season as athletic director with Notre Dame, is hoping the program can rebound from a 4-8 season under coach Brian Kelly.
On Friday, the IndyStar released a Q&A between Swarbrick and Notre Dame Insider Laken Litman. Here’s a portion of that interview that first involved the SEC before focusing on Alabama.
IndyStar: What kind of opponents do you target?
Swarbrick: We target SEC or Big 12 opponents because we want conference markers. We’ll always have two Pac-12 markers (in USC and Stanford), we’ll always have ACC markers, most years we’ll have a Big Ten marker. That’s part of the strategy of saying we’re giving you points of reference to all of our performances against the conferences.
IndyStar: Given the outcome of the 2012 national championship, would you ever try to schedule Alabama?
Swarbrick: Alabama is one of those opponents we would love to play. I hope we do get that done. It was interesting to see the list of teams we’ve never played (from the SEC, which include Mississippi State, Auburn and Kentucky). I frankly didn’t know it. I have a great relationship with the Auburn athletic director (Jay Jacobs), and I’d love to figure out how to do that. There’s something to be said for ticking off everyone on that list until you can say you’ve done it over the history of this program.
Obviously, the second question could’ve been phrased a little better out of respect for Swarbrick.
The Fighting Irish are scheduled to play at least one SEC school in each of the next four years. They’ll host Georgia on Sept. 9 of this season before welcoming Vanderbilt in 2018. Notre Dame will then visit Georgia in 2019 and then host Arkansas in 2020.