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Look-Ahead to the 2023 Notre Dame Football Schedule

By: Michael Blough | Writer | Twitter: @MichaelBlough12


College Football is simply unrivaled in its pace. The season moves by so quickly that you breeze past the fact that there will be no more games until late August. Today is one of those days! With the end of the 2022 Notre Dame Football season passing us just over two weeks ago, it's time to start looking forward to next year. At 9 A.M. this morning, the official 2023 Notre Dame football schedule was released. In this article I will break down each game, give some important info about each team (as with anything in CFB these days, it is subject to change), and give some insight into the scheduling as a whole. If you have not seen the video tweeted out by the official Notre Dame Football account (embedded below), give it a look as it is pretty neat.



Game 1: Navy (Dublin, Ireland)

Notre Dame will start its season on August 26th in Dublin, Ireland as it takes on Navy. Some people may remember that this is a game that was supposed to be played in 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navy is coming off a 4-8 year where it fired its longtime head coach Ken Niumatalolo and hired Brain Newberry. Newberry has been on the staff since 2019 serving as its defensive coordinator. This year more than any, I saw much more distaste from fans on Twitter asking the very valid question, "Why does Notre Dame still schedule Navy every year". I won't get into my thoughts on the matter, but if they're on the schedule, we might as well beat them! I actually really like that this is the first game of the year rather than it being scheduled in the middle of the year. Reason being, Navy is always a trap game as they play a completely different style than any other team on the schedule. Get this game over with in week 0, and move on to the rest of the schedule after that. I'd look for Al Golden and Marcus Freeman to have a more comprehensive game plan this time around, unlike 2022 where Navy was able to put up 32 points and make it close in the second half.


Game 2: Tennessee State (Home)

For the first time in school history, Notre Dame will play an HBCU school. Also, this will be the first time that Notre Dame has faced off against an FCS school. Tennessee State is coached by College Football Hall of Fame inductee Eddie George, and are coming off a 4-7 year. This will be George's third year as the coach of the TSU Tigers. Tennessee State will be a run-first team just like many other FCS schools, and will come into the game with a lot of excitement looking to stun the Irish. I would expect the Irish to handle business and walk away with a comfortable win.


Game 3: NC State (Away)

The Irish will begin their ACC schedule by heading to the state of North Carolina to take on NC State. NC State will certainly look different without QB Devin Leary who hit the transfer portal and will now play ball at the University of Kentucky. Jordan Houston will return for the Wolfpack as the primary back, with Michael Allen getting some carries as well. NC State also lost their top receiver as Thayer Thomas is headed to the draft. NC State finished with an 8-5 record posting some impressive wins over UNC, Wake Forest, and Florida State, but also had some bad losses, most notably to Boston College. The Wolfpack seemed to struggle in the bowl game, losing to Maryland 16-12. I think this is a pretty representative of what their 2023 season will look like without Devin Leary slinging passes.


Game 4: Central Michigan (Home)

Notre Dame gets a short break from ACC play and will host the Central Michigan Chippewas. Central Michigan is coming off a 4-8 season MAC season. the Chippewas are coach by Jim McElwain who will be heading into his 5th year as the head coach. After good years in 2019 and 2021, the Chippewas slipped in 2022, but are hopeful for the future as they brought in the #1 recruiting class in the MAC in 2023. I don't expect the Chippewas to have much for the Irish on September 16th, but this would be your classic "look-ahead" game, as the opponent the next week will be on the minds of the Irish. As we learned in 2022, these games can go sideways quickly, and the Irish should not underestimating anyone.


Game 5: Ohio State (Home)

Well, well, well. Ohio State is coming to South Bend on September 23rd to finish off their home and home series. The Buckeyes began the schedule for the Irish in 2022, but find themselves in the middle of the schedule here in 2023. Ohio State found themselves sneaking into the College Football Playoff in 2022, and even being a FG away from beating Georgia. But, much like Notre Dame in 2022, Ohio State will be starting a new QB as CJ Stroud finally announced he is heading to the NFL draft. I think this is a great spot for Notre Dame to flex their muscles and pick up a win versus a sure-fire top 10 team. Ohio State will return wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who had a monster 2022 season and will be looking for more in 2023. An important facet of this game will be Ryan Day's adjustment to being more of a manger-head coach rather than calling plays as well, as Brian Hartline (wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator) was promoted to OC this offseason. I am very excited about this game, and Notre Dame Stadium better be full (don't sell your tickets to Buckeye fans please!)


Game 6 and Game 7: Duke and Louisville (Away)

I already know what you're thinking, why group these games together? Well, I think these games against Duke and Louisville have very similar qualities. Duke is coming off a revolutionary year under head coach Mike Elko (who Irish fans should be familiar with as he was the DC in 2017). Louisville is coming off a decent 8-5 year, but underwent some staff changes as Jeff Brohm, previously the head coach of Purdue, was hired to be the HC of the Cardinals. Now, the Irish will be the more talented team in both of these games, but for some reason these feel like the perfect opportunity for an upset. Both Brohm and Elko are familiar with Notre Dame and the style they want to play, so don't look past either of these games on the schedule.


Game 8: USC (Home)

The Irish will host the Trojans on October 14th as Lincoln Riley will be in his second season at USC. If you had the "pleasure" of watching the game this year, you will know that USC poses a unique challenge to the Irish, and his name is Caleb Williams. The 2022 Heisman winner will return to USC before he heads off to the draft after the 2023 season. In one of the most confusing staff moves of the off-season, Riley announced that he would retain DC Alex Grinch. USC had one of the worst defenses in the country last year and I would have expected Riley to move on and find a new DC. Perhaps this could be good for the Irish as they have added a QB that can fully take advantage of a poor defense. I would expect this game to look a little bit different in 2023!

Photo credit: New York Times/Todd Van Emst


Game 9: Pittsburgh (Home)

Coming off a bye week, the Irish will host the Panthers on October 28th. Pitt is coming off a nice 9-4 year after having to replace Kenny Pickett in 2022. Pitt is losing their QB from 2022 as Kedon Slovis is transferring again, this time to BYU. Pitt will be on the of the most experienced teams that Notre Dame plays all year, as they will have a lot of seniors and redshirt seniors on the field. I would think the Irish can handle business in this spot, but Pitt will put up a heck of a fight.


Game 10: Clemson (Away)

For the first time since 2015, the Irish will head to Memorial Stadium to face Clemson. The Tigers were a bit shaky in 2022, as they were getting more respect than they deserved. Coming into Notre Dame Stadium undefeated, they got beat up as the Irish pulled off the upset, 35-14. The Tiger's will be forced to replace their QB in 2023, as DJ Uiagalelei hit the transfer portal, but that might be okay with Clemson fans. True freshman Cade Klubnik looked good in spots, but will need to make large strides to bring the Tigers back to the College Football Playoff. Also, Clemson is getting a heck of an OC in Garrett Riley (Brandon Streeter was fired last week). I would look for Riley to have a huge impact on this offense next year.

Photo Credit: Ken Ruinard / USA TODAY Sports


Game 11: Wake Forest (Home)

On Senior Day at Notre Dame Stadium, Sam Hartman will face-off against his former school. Wake Forest will need to replace one of the best QB's in ACC history which will prove to be a difficult task. The Demon Deacons are coached by Dave Clawson and are notorious for running one of the most funky offenses in College Football. Notre Dame will need to prepare well for this, as it can put up points incredibly quick. Wake is coming off an 8-5 year with nearly all of their offensive success stemming from Hartman. I think the Irish will finish off their home season with a nice win over Wake Forest.


Game 12: Stanford (Away)

In one of the most frustrating games in recent memory, the Cardinals beat the Irish 16-14 at Notre Dame Stadium in 2022. Stanford was far less talented and the Irish let the Cardinals hold onto a win. To say I don't expect that to happen again is an understatement. Stanford fired David Shaw after a 3-9 year and hired Troy Taylor who was the head coach at Sacramento State and previously an offensive coordinator at Utah. Between a new coach, players leaving, and reestablishing a program, I would expect the Irish to get some payback and win comfortably.





3 Comments


Guest
Jan 19, 2023

lets Go Irish. Great article

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Guest
Jan 19, 2023

Glad someone’s willing to be somewhat honest about the season. looking forward to freemans second year.

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Guest
Jan 19, 2023

Good preview for The season. Go irish!

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