In 2012, a Tommy Rees offense took an undefeated record into Soldier Field for a Shamrock Series game. Fortunately for Notre Dame fans, this 2021 iteration leaves plenty of time for dinner steakhouse reservations, because that’s where the good news ends.
Irish fans are keen to point to the offense’s incremental growth despite the line’s early-season injury challenges, but the fact remains that any optimism is based primarily on potential rather than actual statistical analysis or output. The pieces certainly appear to be in place, but we’re a quarter of the way through the season and there are still too many missed opportunities and assignments to feel confident about this weekend.
We’re also in the first game of 349 straight matchups with a team coming off a bye. While it’s true there are no good college football teams in 2021, I don’t like the extra prep time that ND’s going to face, starting on Saturday. Don’t believe me? watch the prophetic HLS NCAA14 sim on Thursday night so you have a practice run at managing your blood pressure.
What to Watch: North Carolina (2-1) at Georgia Tech (1-2), Sat 7:30PM ET, ACC Network
The early kickoff time means you’ll have plenty of time to hate-clean the yard, garage, kitchen and/or basement. While this ACC game won’t be good in any empirical sense, you will see two future ND opponents here.
- Virginia (2-1) vs Wake Forest (Fri 7:00PM ET, ESPN2)
- Virginia Tech (2-1) vs Richmond (Sat 12:00PM ET, ACC Network)
- Stanford (2-1) vs UCLA (Sat 6:00PM ET, Pac-12 Network)
- Navy (0-2) at Houston (Sat 7:00PM ET, ESPNU)
- Southern Cal (2-1) vs Oregon State (Sat 10:30PM ET, Fox Sports 1)
- Toledo (1-2) at Ball State (Sat 2:00PM ET, ESPN+)
- Florida State (0-3) vs Louisville (Sat 3:30PM ET, ESPN2)
- Purdue (2-1) vs Illinois (Sat 3:30PM ET, Big Ten Network)
Last week, Notre Dame opponents went 4-6. On the year, teams on the schedule are 18-16 with an average schedule strength of 63.