Saturday's Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech matchup in South Bend will be the third ever. The two schools first met in 2016 and each has beaten the other on their own turf, with the Irish evening the series via a 45-23 rout in Blacksburg last season. Those two games are just part of a storied Notre Dame history that touches every major program in college football. Well, almost every program.
Since fielding its first team in 1887, the Irish have operated as an Independent, scheduling series with an unprecedented range of programs. Between the regular season and bowl games, Notre Dame has played nearly every big-time program in college football. Here are five that the Irish have never played.
Sports Illustrated noted that a booster told then head coach Frank Broyles in the early 1960s that if Arkansas was "tryin' to win a lot of ball games, it would be nice to have several Northwest Louisianas on [its] schedule." Broyles yelled, "Brother, you're so right." It's doubtful this tongue-in-cheek exchange impacted Broyles scheduling decisions as head coach and then athletic director, but the Irish and Razorbacks have never played.
If Auburn had not been on probation in 1993, there is always the possibility that its undefeated season could have culminated in a Sugar Bowl matchup with Notre Dame. That’s about the closest these two teams have ever come to playing each other.
To give you a little perspective here, Knute Rockne had already passed away before Boise State University was even formed. The Broncos' success since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 1995 has been consistently stronger than the Irish during the same period. Thus, a matchup pitting college football’s biggest upstart program against its most storied would garner a lot of hype.
The first FBS program to lose 500 games had very little success before the arrival of head coach Bill Snyder. Since then, the Wildcats have consistently won and generally scheduled one tough non-conference opponent a year. That foe has never been Notre Dame.
Of the three major programs in Oklahoma, Notre Dame has lost to two of them, Oklahoma and Tulsa. It has never even taken the field against Oklahoma State.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.