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Yanks thrilled to have Irish, Knights Bronx-bound

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NEW YORK (AP) - Randy Levine knows a good deal when he sees one.

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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.''

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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