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The Real Prime: ND Plays 3rd of 4 Straight Prime Time Games on Saturday

Written by Mike Stacey|Writer|Twitter (X): @MikeStaceyIT IG: @mikestaceyit

Photo via Sporting News


"When are you going to join a conference? You playing Navy again this year? When will you play a real team?" These are some of the nauseatingly overused comments that ND fans hear all the time. "Soft schedule" and "irrelevant" are other terms antagonist like to toss out there. Well, this Saturday against Louisville will be the 3rd straight game, in primetime, against a ranked opponent for the Irish. That streak will continue the following week when ND faces off against rival and top 10 opponent USC under the lights in South Bend. So much for the "easy schedule" that the ND haters like to manifest out of lazy narratives driven by under researched assumptions.


According to TeamRankings, the Irish SOS rankings over the past 5 seasons including this year are 8th, 33rd, 21st, 7th, and 16th in the country. That is out of a total of 130 teams. So yes, the Irish play Navy every season, and if you did the research you would realize that is because Navy is the reason Notre Dame is still a school thanks to their assistance during WWII. This season was the first time in Notre Dame history that they played an FCS school, and that was more for it's historic value, playing a predominately black college for the first time, than for a competitive breather. So simply put, the "Irish play a soft schedule" argument is played out and inaccurate. Notre Dame plays a national schedule that includes trips to other countries at times, and always have strong opponents each year. If you want to argue about their performance in big games, COMPLETELY fair, that is an argument I will stay out of....


Now let's discuss relevance. Another argument that has me scratching my head when I hear it. Notre Dame fans are all over the country, and regardless of how their season is going, fans and haters alike tune in to either root for or against the Irish. Notre Dame is the New York Yankees of college football. To claim they are "irrelevant" is an absolutely wild argument. According to a study conducted by strategy consultant Tony Altimore at Altimore Collins & Company, the Irish had the second largest fanbase in the country. Not bad for a small catholic college that is "irrelevant" in college football. One of the biggest arguments I hear from the "irrelevant" side is that Notre Dame is simply not good anymore. An argument, that by their logic, would only make 5 teams qualify as relevant or good. That is the number of teams in the entire country that have more college playoff appearances than Notre Dame. "But Notre Dame never won a playoff game!" Well, only 7 teams have won a playoff game since this format started in 2014. Again, you want to argue big game performances, fine, it's a very fair argument and one I would agree with. However, to claim they are not relevant is completely inaccurate. This year's game against Ohio State had 10.5 million viewers, making it the most viewed football game in 30 years. You don't get those numbers without nation wide interest.


So this Saturday, once again, the Irish will be playing in a marquee matchup under the bright lights. (Sorry Deion, the Irish are taking over Prime Time status) Another matchup with a team that is ranked and undefeated going into the game. Another game where the Irish will have to bring their A game, on the road, to secure a win. And sadly, another game that will probably be ignored by the naysayers who won't come back out of their shadows until Notre Dame plays an unranked team. "Oh you're playing Pitt off of a bye week? Must be nice!" I can already hear it...







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