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
Southern Cal (3-2) vs Colorado (5-0), Sat 10:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 1
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a 5-0 Colorado squad as a touchdown road dog against a 3-2 USC. The Buffaloes have surprised some folks early this year with victories over Nebraska, UCLA, and Arizona State, notable programs but in all instances teams in the first year of rebuilding under new coaching regimes. The back half of Colorado’s schedule is much more difficult, with Oregon State as the sole game remaining that seems like an achievable win.
USC, on the other hand, has not fared well in the early-goings of 2018, but has a more manageable schedule starting with this upstart Colorado game. Aside from a road test at Utah in two weeks, they’re on track for a 9-2 (or, at worst, 8-3) resume when Notre Dame arrives in Los Angeles for the season-ending tilt on Thanksgiving weekend. Southern Cal hopes their young offensive talent starts to make growth strides starting this week, or else they’ll have a tough time in conference play.
Also this Week
Other Upcoming Opponents
- Northwestern (2-3) vs Nebraska (Sat 12:00 PM ET, ABC)
- Navy (2-3) vs Temple (Sat 3:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network)
- Vanderbilt (3-3) vs Florida (Sat 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
- Ball State (2-4) at Central Michigan (Sat 3:00 PM ET, Watch ESPN)
- Virginia Tech (3-2) at North Carolina (Sat 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
- Michigan (5-1) vs Wisconsin (Sat 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
Last week, ND opponents went 3-8 — a tough week with wins coming only for Northwestern, Michigan, and USC. On the year, opponents have a combined record of 37-31 (54.4%) with an average schedule strength of 46.