The Irish will face 10 BCS foes in 12 2011 contests and 10 more in their 12 2012 matchups. The non-BCS foes (Navy, Air Force and BYU) have each been ranked at some point over the last three football seasons. BYU reached as high as No. 15 in 2007.
2011 Irish ScheduleSept. 3 SOUTH FLORIDA
Sept. 10 at Michigan
Sept. 17 MICHIGAN STATE
Sept. 24 at Pittsburgh
Oct. 1 at Purdue
Oct. 8 AIR FORCE
Oct. 15 Open Date
Oct. 22 USC
Oct. 29 NAVY
Nov. 5 at Wake Forest
Nov. 12 MARYLAND (Fed-Ex Field, Washington D.C.)
Nov. 19 BOSTON COLLEGE
Nov. 26 at Stanford
Worth the price of admission: A few thoughts on the 2011 slate, one that contains six solid home matchups for the Irish season ticket holder.
- September 3: Lou Holtz roots against the Irish for the first time in at least 25 years.
- The Irish open with three road games in their first five contests. That's happened on 10 occasions over the last 30 seasons: 2007 (0-5); 2005 (4-1); 2003 (2-3); 1997 (1-4); 1993 (5-0); 1991 (4-1); 1989 (5-0, 6-0 including a neutral site); 1987 (4-1) and 1985 (2-3); 1983 (3-2).
If you're looking for a trend within, consider this: the great ND teams facing such a start win; the poor ND teams lose…genius.
- Two weeks to prepare for USC…let's hope that's not in an effort to snap a 9-game losing skid to the Trojans.
- November games at Wake Forest and vs. Maryland in the "neutral" setting of Washington, D.C. are a departure from the final month norm.
- Boston College on Senior Day? Are you kidding? Does no one study history?
- If the Irish are to threaten for the BCS crown over the next three seasons, it better be 2011, because...
Hey, what happened to the MAC?Or Army? Or Tulsa? Where's Nevada and San Diego State and Duke?
Be careful what you wish for Irish fans: While Notre Dame's 2011 schedule is challenging in its consistency, the back end of the 2012 slate, particularly the stretch following the Week Five Bye, is reminiscent of The Bataan Death March:
Miami, Stanford, BYU, at Oklahoma, Pittsburgh at Boston College, Wake Forest at USC…As Lou Holtz said when he first saw his 1990 schedule that included Michigan, Michigan State, Miami, Tennessee, Penn State and USC – six programs near or at their peak – "I wondered why someone put the A.P. Top 10 on my desk…"
In 2012, the Irish will travel to the east coast, the west coast and across the Atlantic while also playing eight of their remaining nine contests in a 220-mile radius (Chicago to South Bend to East Lansing, Michigan).
Notre Dame will additionally make its first trip to Oklahoma since the 1966 Irish national title season under Ara Parseghian.
2012 Irish ScheduleSept. 1 Navy (Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 8 PURDUE
Sept. 15 at Michigan State
Sept. 22 MICHIGAN
Sept. 29 Open Date
Oct. 6 MIAMI (Soldier Field, Chicago)
Oct. 13 STANFORD
Oct. 20 BYU
Oct. 27 at Oklahoma
Nov. 3 PITTSBURGH
Nov. 10 at Boston College
Nov. 17 WAKE FOREST
Nov. 24 at USC