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Irish to open 2011 season against USF

The Irish will face a familiar opponent when they open the 2011 season. And for the first time in -- well, eternity -- Lou Holtz might not be cheering for ol’ Notre Dame.

That’s because Skip Holtz’s South Florida team has agreed to move their date with the Irish from October 1st to September 3rd, a game that will open both team’s season at Notre Dame Stadium.

“It’s definitely happening,” USF executive associate athletic director Bill McGinnis told the Tampa Times’ Greg Auman.

Skip Holtz has quite a tie to Notre Dame, besides his famous father. The younger played special teams and was a backup flanker for the Irish, before returning to his dad’s coaching staff from 1990-1993.

The match-up was on the schedule before Holtz ever came to USF, and when Notre Dame officials asked USF brass about moving the game to accommodate the Irish, to avoid starting the season with back-to-back Big Ten road games, USF obliged. The game was originally scheduled for late November, but was moved to the October date two years ago because of NBC’s President’s Cup gold coverage.

Either way, its a very high profile opening game with plenty of storylines to open 2011.