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
Syracuse (4-1) at Pittsburgh (2-3), Sat 12:20 PM ET on ACC Network
First things first: apparently “have your mascots available in gif form” is a thing that Pitt does (let’s pour one out to the vastly superior ND media/video group for their social media idiocy). But onto the game: this early Saturday matchup gets you two future ND opponents. Syracuse falls out of the Top 25 after a close loss at Clemson, so they’ll try to bounce back as a three-point road dog at Pittsburgh.
Pitt will need to constrain Cuse’s high-octane offense, and the strategies employed on both sides of the ball should be instructive to the Irish coaching staff later this season. Syracuse’s defense allows just over 21 points per game on average, albeit against a weaker slate of opponents. Pitt will also attempt to counter Syracuse’ various offensive weapons, and the extent to which they can contain the QB run threat and a balanced pass/run attack should shape how the Irish structure their offensive gameplan next week.
Also this Week
Other Upcoming Opponents
- Northwestern (1-3) at Michigan State (Sat 12:00 PM ET, Fox Sports 1)
- Florida State (3-2) at Miami (Sat 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
- Navy (2-2) at Air Force (Sat 3:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network)
- Michigan (4-1) vs Maryland (Sat 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
- Ball State (2-3) vs Northern Illinois (Sat 3:00 PM ET, Watch ESPN)
- Wake Forest (3-2) vs Clemson (Sat 3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
- Vanderbilt (3-2) at Georgia (Sat 7:30 PM ET, SEC Network)
- Stanford (4-1) vs Utah (Sat 10:30 PM ET, ESPN)
Last week, ND opponents went 7-4. On the year, opponents have a combined record of 34-23 (59.6%) with an average schedule strength of 59.