|"Why are we playing Oklahoma this year?" asks the leprechaun.|
Year in and year out, we hear a lot of propaganda about Notre Dame's football team playing the toughest schedule in the country. Many years, that is overblown, but not this year. The schedule maker did not do the team any favors because the Fighting Irish play some whopper games this year. At least one preseason publication rates their schedule as the toughest in the nation.
Notre Dame plays: Sept. 1 vs. Navy (in
Sept. 8 vs. Purdue, Sept. 15 at Michigan
State, Sept. 22 vs. Michigan,
Oct. 6 vs. Miami, Fla.,
Oct. 13 vs. Stanford, Oct. 20 vs. Brigham Young, Oct. 27 at Oklahoma, Nov. 3
vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 10 at Boston College, Nov. 17 vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 24 at
In Notre Dame's favor is that they only play four true road games. Another two are on neutral fields though those should be considered home games. Seriously, can anyone argue with a straight face that playing Navy in
neutral site for both teams? Additionally,
playing Ireland Miami in is like playing in their own backyard. Chicago Chicago is
Notre Dame country and
does not bring a lot of fans on the road (or at home for that matter). Miami
Still, there are no games that can be considered 'gimmies' on the schedule. September tests include a road game at
State and at home against . The Big 10 is consistently the most overrated
conference in the nation. However, both those teams are formable foes. October's highlights include a home game
against Stanford and a road game at Michigan .
Stanford has been highly ranked the last two seasons, but may see a slight drop
off this year. Oklahoma is consistently one of the top
programs in the nation. Oklahoma
Notre Dame closes out the regular season at USC. The Trojans are considered by many to be the top team in the nation and are ranked third in the preseason coaches' poll.
From top to bottom, this is a strong schedule. The only minor criticism is that they play no teams from the Southeastern Conference. It is difficult to consider their schedule the toughest in the nation if they do not play any teams from the toughest conference. Still, there is no way to know if that was Notre Dame's choice or that no SEC teams would play them.
Based on this schedule, getting to 10 wins would have to be considered a tremendous accomplishment for Notre Dame.