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.”