"Notre Dame" Football Home Opener Against Div. I-AA/FCS Opponent Who Lost to a Div. II Team Less Than A Year Ago

"Notre Dame" Football's 2023 home opener is not just against a minor league team from Div. I-AA/FCS, the lower, separate subdivision within Div. I that includes teams like Ivy League teams.

The would-be Fighting Irish welcome an opponent who, themselves, lost to a team from Div. II less than a year ago. That's not one of their many losses in Div. I-AA. That was a loss to a Div. II team.

The Tennessee State Tigers come to The House That Rockne Built on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 3:30 ET. The Tigers are members of the Ohio Valley Conference in Div. I-AA/FCS.

Playing an 11-game schedule last year, Tennessee State finished 4-7 overall. By going 2-3 in conference play, they did finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Tennessee State went 0-1 against Div. II. They also went 4-5 against Div. I-AA/FCS opponents and 0-1 against Div. I-A/FBS.

Eleven months ago on Oct. 1, 2022, Tennessee State took an 0-3 record against the Lane College Dragons of Div. II, playing at home, coming off a bye week.

Despite outgaining the Dragons 344 yards to 268, Tennessee State still lost in overtime, 28-27.

After giving up a fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter, Tennessee State eventually would have lost in regulation if they had not gotten a long field goal in the closing moments to tie the game and take it into overtime.

In the overtime period, after the teams traded touchdowns, it was Lane College that took the initiative to put the game away by successfully converting a 2-point attempt.

With the loss, Tennessee State fell to 0-4.

Lane College rose to 3-2, on their way to a 5-5 finish.

Three weeks before beating Tennessee State, Lane College had lost by multiple touchdowns to Benedict College of South Carolina, another Div. II team.

"Notre Dame" fans and alumni already have lived through other indignities to tradition like the ripping out of natural grass from The House That Rockne Built, in favor of artificial turf.

It used to be that "Notre Dame" was one of the few major college programs that never played a team from Div. I-AA/FCS.

Now they have Div. I-AA/FCS Tennessee State coming to Notre Dame Stadium.

Yet merely playing a team from the lower subdivision of Div. I does not necessarily have to be so bad in itself.

There has been a wide range of quality within Div. I-AA/FCS. Some of the programs at the top have actually been stronger than one might expect.

At one time, perennially successful Appalachian State knocked off Michigan in Ann Arbor, back when Appalachian State was still in Div. I-AA. Some time later, of course, they would jump up into Div. I-A/FBS.

So one question that arises, when a would-be major program plays a team from Div. I-AA/FCS, is how good the opponent has actually been, in terms of overall record, who their opponents have been and whom they've beaten or lost to.

To play a team from a minor league that also had a losing record in the minor league, and even lost to an opponent from a completely separate, lower division like Div. II is particularly embarrassing.

SEC teams have been known to schedule Div. I-AA/FCS opponents in November, when most teams need some rest. In some cases, those have been decidely weak opponents, even against the standards of the minor league. Other times, however, the opponents have been stronger, and perhaps later in time, even jumped into Div. I-A/FBS.

"Notre Dame," who has been notorious across mulitple coaching tenures for mismanaging sleep deprivation and travel after long-distance nighttime road games, will be coming immediately off of an overseas game in Ireland against Navy. The jet lag undoubtedly lasted for days.

So perhaps administrators wanted some kind of insurance policy against falling on their faces without more time to adjust for a game coming up just a week later.

To be fair, where "Notre Dame" administrators have habitually shot themselves in the foot, with long-distance road games within the United States, has been with the near-imbecilic use of red eye flights. For a supposed, self-professed "research university" (although their immoral botching of the covid vaccine issue calls that moniker into doubt), "Notre Dame" has repeatedly demonstrated an almost perverse avoidance of multiple research studies, including for the military, finding that that bioindicators of sleep deprivation linger on for days, even after a subject supposedly "caught up" on their sleep.

They probably have blown entire weeks of practices, where they took a red-eye flight, then were not up to speed after the sleep deprivation until later in the week, when practices have to be lightened up anyhow.

Last year, "Notre Dame" was 0-2 against unranked opponents the week after playing a night game on the road. If that was caused by red-eye flights impeding their subsequent week, that administrative blunder might have cost them a major bowl bid.

Against Navy, the great distances involved might have spelled jet lag issues regardless of how they timed the flight back after what was a local night game for Dublin.

In any event, while welcoming outmanned Tennessee State there undoubtedly will be feel-good politicizing about the fact that Tennessee State is an historically black college, one of those known as HBCU.

As the United Negro College Fund has always reminded us, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. (Or, as gaffe-prone former Indiana Senator and Vice President Dan Quayle was accused of saying at a related event, "... what a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.")

However politically correct, or perhaps even sincere they are, administrators and television announcers can only discourse thoughtfully about those kinds of things, and perhaps show grainy black-and-white video from days of yore, for just so long.

But the game will last several hours.

For the record, there are stronger HBCU teams in Div. I-AA/FCS, with better records.

For example, last year, North Carolina Central beat Jackson State in overtime to be the best HBCU team in the country, by virtue of winning the Cricket Celebration Bowl that actually separates itself away from the Div. I-AA/FCS national championship playoff.

North Carolina Central finished #19 in the final coaches poll for Div. I-AA/FCS, and took home a 10-2 final record. Meanwhile, Jackson State finished the season 12-1.

Of course, given "Notre Dame's" periodic problems, falling flat, coming off long-distance nighttime road games, how well could "Notre Dame" have handled Jackson State or North Carolina Central this week?


["Notre Dame" is placed in quotes out of respect for the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus, her Divine Son. The words "Notre Dame," of course, are French for "Our Lady," referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. It would be disrespectful to imply that she would be associated with various scandals emerging in the current era at the post-secondary institution near the Indiana-Michigan border whose nonprofit corporation persists in calling the institution "Notre Dame du Lac," including those scandals demonstrating lack of fidelity to Christ, such as the honoring, hiring or retention of pro-abortion politicians and faculty.]

Key Words: Notre Dame Football, Notre Dame Administrators, Jet Lag, Sleep Deprivation, Tennessee State Tigers Football, Lane College Dragons, DIv. I-AA/FCS, College Football, Football, Black Colleges, HBCU

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