"Notre Dame hasn't been the Notre Dame of old. But if you look at the entire history of Notre Dame football, they've been great for a long, long time and they have an incredible following around the country," Holmoe said.
"I have an incredible respect for them and I understand that they've earned it. They're not going to lose it immediately. They could, if Notre Dame struggled over the course of a decade or two, they could potentially lose the position that they're in. I don't think it's going to happen, but they could. I like it that way, that you have to earn it."
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick believes BYU is one of the few schools that can make independence work. The Irish and Cougars have agreed to play six times between 2012 and 2020.
"(Independence) is not for everybody, but they certainly fit the profile of an institution for whom it probably does make great sense — frankly, in the same way it still does for Army and Navy," Swarbrick told the Chicago Tribune about BYU. "All the schools currently in that category have some common characteristics — national profile, strong history and traditions that are important to honor. BYU adds to that, as I think Notre Dame has, media access. Not everybody can produce on their own. It certainly looks like a smart move, from where I sit."
Swarbrick likes the relationship with BYU — the two programs have played six times since 1992 — because of their common values and characteristics.
"For all those reasons: A lot of success in football, great program, storied program, great following, they have not only a local fan base, but the extent to which people around the country follow them is a real plus. We try very hard as we start our scheduling process to start by looking at schools that have a common approach to collegiate athletics and share our values. And they certainly fit that category."
BYU is also interested in forming strong relationships with Army and Navy. Holmoe has had conversations with the athletic directors at those two schools.
"For them, things are changing, too," Holmoe said. "As BYU enters independence and starts investigating things, they look at it as an opportunity to re-evaluate their position in independence."
If Holmoe has his way, there will be many games with Army and Navy in the future.
"I'd love to see us play Army and Navy in a lot of sports, not just football," Holmoe said. "I'd love to play them in football because we're independents. But everybody wants to play Army and Navy because it's such a sweet place to go play. Whenever Army and Navy show up anywhere, they have a built-in crowd. Having Army and Navy come to BYU, I think our fans would love to see them come here, maybe more than some big-time college football teams."
Looking forward, back
The Cougars will travel to South Bend, Ind., to take on the Fighting Irish on Oct. 20 and will make a return trip the following year on Nov. 16, 2013. The other four games in the six-game series will be played between 2014 and 2020. Two of the remaining games will be in Provo, and the other two in South Bend.
BYU and Notre Dame have met in football six times — all since 1992. The Irish lead the series 4-2 and hold a 3-1 advantage in South Bend.
Oct. 24, 1992: Notre Dame 42, BYU 16, in South Bend
Oct. 16, 1993: Notre Dame 45, BYU 20, in Provo
Oct. 15, 1994: BYU 21, Notre Dame 14, in South Bend
Nov. 15, 2003: Notre Dame 33, BYU 14, in South Bend
Sept. 4, 2004: BYU 20, Notre Dame 17, in Provo
Oct. 22, 2005: Notre Dame 49, BYU 23, South Bend
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