Yanks thrilled to have Irish, Knights Bronx-bound

Randy Levine knows a good deal when he sees one.

So it comes as no surprise that the New York Yankees president

is thrilled that Notre Dame, which played in last season’s BCS

national title game, is a participant in this year’s Pinstripe Bowl

at Yankee Stadium.

The No. 25 Irish (8-4) will meet Rutgers (6-6) in the fourth

installment of this bowl on Dec. 28 in The Bronx.

”Notre Dame is Notre Dame,” Levine said. They don’t need …

there’s nothing you can say. It is a legendary football program.

Rutgers is making their second appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl to

add a little local flavor.”

Notre Dame, which has a history of playing at the Meadowlands in

New Jersey as well as Yankee Stadium, and Rutgers had no commitment

to the Pinstripe based on conference affiliation. It was just a

matchup that made sense and should garner attention throughout the

New York metropolitan area.

”This game is not about the money,” Pinstripe Bowl executive

director Mark Holtzman said. ”It’s about Notre Dame wanting to

come here and play in New York, and all that we offer.”

For Rutgers, it might as well be the beginning of a new era in

football. The Scarlet Knights will play Midwestern programs similar

to Notre Dame next season and beyond, as members of the Big Ten

Conference. Formerly of the Big East, Rutgers played in the

American Athletic Conference this season and struggled in coach

Kyle Flood’s second season.

Rutgers, in fact, needed a 31-6 win over South Florida on

Saturday night just to be bowl eligible. And on Sunday, the same

day the Pinstripe Bowl matchup was officially announced, defensive

coordinator Dave Cohen, quarterbacks coach Rob Spence and offensive

line coach Damian Wroblewski were relieved of their duties.

”It certainly creates a little bit of a challenge,” Flood

said. ”I’m confident that the people are in positions where they

can be successful. That’s my job as the head football coach. We

would certainly love to have an entire staff intact but that is not

the reality of our situation. I will not allow that to be a

negative as we move forward.”

The game will begin a flurry of non-baseball activity at Yankee

Stadium, which will house two outdoor NHL games next month. The New

York Rangers will play both the New Jersey Devils and New York

Islanders during Super Bowl week.

”That was the intention from Day One,” Levine said. ”It was

always the intention. It’s such a beautiful building that we use it

as much as we can all year round.”