Each week in this space, we examine two things: Notre Dame’s strength of schedule (from USA Today‘s Sagarin rankings), and who Irish opponents are facing. For those of who want to scout future opponents, I’ll give you my recommendation for who to watch when you’re not watching Notre Dame Football.
Who To Watch
Stanford vs Southern Cal (Sat 8:30 PM ET, Fox)
HOW WAS EVERYONE’S SATURDAY? It was a good first week for Irish opponents — someone had to lose last week’s headliner between FSU and Virginia Tech, and hoo boy the Willie Taggart era got off to a rougher start than expected…which in turn immediately increases the level of difficulty for Notre Dame’s October trip to Blacksburg, VA. This week finds most of our opponents enjoying a home slate, with the exception of this early-season Pac-12 banger so let’s dive right in.
For USC, J.T. Daniels had a fine debut but the note for Irish fans will be Amon-Ra St. Brown, wide receiver and younger brother of Equanamious, who chose the Trojans over both Stanford and Notre Dame. We’ll see how the Trojan offense fares against a sturdier defense than last week’s UNLV squad.
For Stanford, we’ll see how Bryce Love looks, as he was not utilized extensively in last week’s win over San Diego State. Hopefully this will be an early blueprint on whether the Cardinal offense has weapons other than at running back, as the Irish will look to leverage their defensive strength as the season progresses.
It’s early in the year, but let the hate flow and root for the meteor in this one, as both of these opponents have been a periodic thorn in the side of Brian Kelly teams, and should pose strong tests again later in the 2018 campaign.
Last week, ND opponents went 9-2. On the year, opponents have an average schedule strength of 81.
Other Upcoming Opponents
- Northwestern vs Duke (Sat 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
- Vanderbilt vs Nevada (Sat 12:00 PM ET, SEC Network)
- Virginia Tech vs William & Mary (Sat 12:00 PM ET, ACC Network)
- Wake Forest vs Towson (Sat 12:00 PM ET, ACC Network)
- Navy vs Memphis (Sat 3:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network)
- Syracuse vs Wagner (Sat 3:30 PM ET, ACC Network)
- Florida State vs Samford (Sat 7:20 PM ET, ACC Network)
- Pittsburgh vs Penn State (Sat 8:00 PM ET, ABC)
- Michigan vs Western Michigan (Sat 12:00 PM ET, Fox Sports 1)