Months ago, I never thought that we would make it to the day where the 2020 college football season was actually going to happen. Now, we are just a few weeks away from what should be the start of the 2020 college football season but with each passing day comes new developments, stories, and headlines that complicate the situation. As we know, Notre Dame’s season opener in Ireland against Navy has already been cancelled, marking September 12th against Duke as the first scheduled game of the Irish campaign. With full ACC membership this year, Notre Dame hopes to be able to participate in the regularly scheduled college football season and continue the winning ways during Brian Kelly’s 11th year with the program.
After being granted full membership in the ACC for this 2020 season, marquee matchups against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field, as well as our familiar battles with the likes of Stanford and Southern California have been nixed from Notre Dame’s schedule. In case you haven’t seen, this year’s schedule is as follows:
- September 12th vs. Duke
- September 19th vs. South Florida
- September 26th at Wake Forrest
- October 3rd – Bye Week
- October 10th vs. Florida State
- October 17th vs. Louisville
- October 24th at Pittsburgh
- October 31st at Georgia Tech
- November 7th vs. Clemson
- November 14th at Boston College
- November 21st – Bye Week
- November 27th at North Carolina (Friday)
- December 5th vs. Syracuse
This is all still relatively tentative at the moment as teams and conferences continue to monitor their students and student athletes to keep Covid-19 numbers to a minimum. If (and that’s a big if) the entirety of the college football season is played and Notre Dame is able to get through all 11 opponents on the above mentioned schedule with as healthy of a roster as possible, I could see the Irish pulling off a 10-1 regular season record with November 7th against Clemson being the only blemish. I completely understand how nearly impossible making any sort of accurate predictions will be this year, however looking at this in a vacuum and assuming the absolute best when it comes to the student athlete’s health, this Irish team has a chance to be competing on an extremely high level again this year. With ongoing talks of moving the entire college football season to the spring however, I don’t see a way in which that would give Notre Dame any sort of advantage. With the number of players we could potentially lose to the NFL Draft and/or lack of eligibility, a spring season would look very different.
Not to get off track though – looking at the schedule that we have in front of us, I do think that the 2020 Notre Dame team could potentially prove to be Brian Kelly’s most talented squad to date. With notable offseason moves like bringing Tommy Rees to the offensive coordinator position, the addition of 5-star running back Chris Tyree and tight end Michael Mayer, transfer enrollees such as Isaiah Pryor and Ben Skowronek and numerous others, I am eagerly awaiting the start of this Notre Dame football season. With Ian Book having another year of experience under his belt, although there were some key departures on both sides of the ball, I think Book’s leadership will prove to be instrumental in this team’s overall success.
As of the writing of this article, it has been announced that Notre Dame Stadium will operate at 20% capacity this season with first priority going to Notre Dame students. As many of us have had November 7th circled on our calendars for a long time, it is disappointing that Notre Dame Stadium will not be packed and rocking for that long awaited College Football Playoff rematch. That is the lone game on this year’s schedule that I think the lack of fans could have a greater significance on. We all saw how Georgia fed off their crowd last season and I believe a similar atmosphere would have been seen during this year’s Clemson matchup. It will be up to the students and those allowed into the stadium to bring the energy and create as much noise as possible. With that being said and the uncertainty surrounding college football, let’s continue to hope for the best so that we can see this year’s Irish team be able to take the field. Be on the lookout for further breakdowns of each matchup as the games arrive this year. Until then, Go Irish!