BYU football: Playing at Notre Dame can be like a bowl game

Published: Monday, June 25 2012 9:00 p.m. MDT

"To some degree, I think they're happy to see another independent team in the mix," Murphy said. "I think they would play BYU anyway, but they feel a responsibility 'to stick with our independent brethren' on the schedule and make sure BYU is on the schedule. That was a big impetus to scheduling BYU. Going forward, if the two schools remain independent, it could develop into a long series. With this being the first time Notre Dame and BYU will play since BYU became an independent, it will be an interesting storyline. They need to have a couple of good, close games before it becomes a rivalry."

BYU is facing the prospect of not playing its arch-rival, Utah, on a regular basis. Perhaps playing Notre Dame could help compensate for that potential void.

Augustine looks forward to hosting BYU fans set to visit South Bend for the upcoming games.

"People put this on the list of top 100 things they're going to do in their lives before they die — to come to a game at Notre Dame Stadium. People talk about that," he said. "The opposing teams that come here, we get tremendous, positive feedback from people who have been here. They say they are treated with respect and kindness. 'We have never been congratulated so much by a team that we just beat,' they say. That doesn't happen very often. If you go to the tailgate, opposing fans will be invited to tailgates as they walk by. 'Come on over and have a beer. Have a bratwurst.' That's neat.

"Here's where people will think I'm a nut," Augustine continued. "When Notre Dame gets beat, and that happens quite often, even at home, the opposing fans will march with the band right back to their buses. I'm happy for them. You come to Notre Dame and you beat the Irish, that can be your bowl game. That can be your season."

Trips to South Bend in the fall are unforgettable, Augustine said.

"You have to try to make a weekend of it as much as you can. It's definitely an event. Opposing fans leave here with a sense of pride, joy and enjoying the whole event even if they get beat. If you come out just for the game that day, you're missing a weekend of unbelievable activity and history. There is so much on campus to see and do. The campus is historic."

Augustine acknowledged that Notre Dame has had its share of hard times lately, but explained that Irish fans' love for their school extends beyond what happens on the field.

"We haven't had the greatest success the last 20 years," he said. "But being a Notre Dame fan is about the campus, about the values the players take with them. There is that mentality that Notre Dame isn't for every kid. It's not just the football team, it's the whole ball of wax."

Editor's note: This is the third in a four-part series examining the relationship between BYU and Notre Dame and the impending start of a six-game football series between the Cougars and the Fighting Irish. Read part 1. Read Part 2.

email: jeffc@desnews.com

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere