Why is Notre Dame vs. Navy being played in Ireland?

There is a pretty good reason why the No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are playing the Navy Midshipmen overseas in Week 0 on Saturday afternoon.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Navy Midshipmen
Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Navy Midshipmen / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Here is why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are playing the Navy Midshipmen in Ireland in Week 0.

To start the 2023 college football season off on the right foot, the No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will square off with one of their traditional rivals in the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday.

What makes this Week 0 game between familiar foes so scintillating is that it will be played across the pond at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. ET and it will be nationally televised on NBC. This is the second game in as many years that has been played in Ireland for Week 0, but there have been plenty of other college football games that have taken place over there before.

The reason why this game is being played overseas is Ireland is pretty simple. It is part of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Aer Lingus is Ireland's primary airline, and Ireland loves college football. It is a match made in heaven, and one we hope to continue enjoy for years to come. Do the Midshipmen have it in them to thwart the heavily favored Fighting Irish, or will this be just a blowout?

Notre Dame enters this game roughly a three-touchdown favorite over Navy on a neutral site.

Why is this Notre Dame-Navy college football game going on in Ireland?

This is a creative way to have some fun during Week 0. If this game were played most weeks during the regular season, it would get overlooked by anything remotely competitive in any of the major conferences. Notre Dame plays Navy annually every year because the University of Notre Dame extends an offer to allow the Naval Academy to play them as a debt for their help in World War II.

Although this is the third game of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic since it was conceived in 2016, I have to be honest, last year's game between Big Ten West bottom-feeders Nebraska and Northwestern was absolutely captivating. We should allow Week 0 to be a weekend that lesser-known teams or non-ranked teams get to show the rest of the world what they are all about, man.

While we are not going to see Scott Frost nonsense at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, nor are we about to see Marcus Freeman go 0-for-America after getting to 1-0 like Pat Fitzgerald did only a year ago, this Navy team might sneak up on people. You have to remember that Ken Niumatalolo is no longer running this ship. His former defensive coordinator Brian Newberry took over after being promoted.

If you want to understand why this game is being played in Ireland, it is all about airline sponsorship.

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