Notre Dame Football
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame football program is not part of any collegiate conference. That choice is made because it gives the program greater flexibility when scheduling games, and negotiating bowl bids. Any team that is not part of a conference faces the risk of not having games televised and that way not getting the large television revenue.Nevertheless, Notre Dame being one of the most prestigious and traditional football programs in history, and with a large fan base, it is almost certain that the Irish will get a television deal, and a very large one. By not being part of a conference allows the school to make more money than if it were part of any conference wide television deal.
As most football programs in the country, Notre Dame Football plays 12 games during the regular season. In 2014, Notre Dame agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference (or the ACC) for all sports except football, and as part of this agreement, the Fighting Irish agreed to play five ACC opponents every season; the opponents vary each season. The agreement was set to terminate in 2026, but in 2017, Notre Dame and the ACC agreed to extend their deal through 2037.
For the remaining seven games, Notre Dame enters into bi-lateral agreements with other schools to play during the regular season. This is similar to the process that schools in traditional conferences go through for scheduling their non-conference games. Currently, Notre Dame has bi-lateral agreements with Stanford, USC, and Navy; playing those teams annually. The remaining four games are often negotiated several years in advance with traditional and high ranked football programs.