Notre Dame football is back. The players may not have to face a lot of difficulties in the classroom, but on the gridiron nobody has it tougher. College football expert Phil Steele says the Irish will play the most consistently difficult schedule of any college football program this season. In addition to facing defending national champion and pre-season #1 Florida State, Notre Dame will play four other teams in the pre-season AP Top 25, including national title contender # 11 Stanford. (ND is ranked # 17 in the AP poll.)
Notre Dame even gets to stay close to home much of the season–yet the degree of difficulty remains high. One of the games not scheduled for Notre Dame stadium is in Indianapolis–virtually at home–and another, at the Meadowlands, is in very Irish-friendly territory. But October will see the Irish against Stanford, North Carolina and Florida State consecutively. By the end of that stretch Notre Dame’s # 17 ranking will either be a single digit, or ND will be looking at the top 25 from the outside.