Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Notre Dame Schedule, Ranked

Notre Dame schedule

With a pair of preseason Top-Five matchups, it’s no secret the Notre Dame schedule is a gauntlet this year. Add in some seriously sneaky difficult road games, and some trap games at home, and it gets worse. So here’s a look at the Irish schedule in Year 1 of the Marcus Freeman era, from the easiest to the most difficult clashes on the gridiron. 

Notre Dame schedule: Automatic Wins

  1. UNLV

The Irish play UNLV as the second part of a two-week home stretch following their battle with BYU. It doesn’t get much easier on this Notre Dame schedule than a UNLV team that finished 2-10 last year. The Rebels project to be a little better, maybe challenging for a bowl game. They don’t have anywhere near the talent required to take down the Irish. 

  1. Stanford

Immediately preceding the UNLV game is a clash with the Cardinal. Normally a primetime battle with Stanford is must-see television. In recent years, not so much. The Irish have won by 21, 21, and 31 points in their past three meetings. The Cardinal are a longshot to even make a bowl game and are certainly the worst Power-5 opponents on the docket for the Irish. 

  1. Navy

As always, this one hinges on how prepared the Irish are for the triple option. If they are, it’s an easy task. If not, a road clash at M&T Stadium in Baltimore gets a little dicier. It hasn’t been an issue recently. Notre Dame has beaten the Midshipmen in three straight games by an average margin of 27.3 points. Don’t expect much closer in 2022. 

  1. Cal

Cal has a sneaky good defense that could make things mildly tricky for Notre Dame. But their offense is just nowhere near the caliber needed to score a lot of points on the Irish defense. In 10 games against Power-5 competition, the Golden Bears exceeded 24 points in a game just three times. The Irish have one of the best defenses in the country. They’ll have the green uniforms and “Irish Wear Green” home environment. Chalk this one up as a win. 

  1. Boston College

This one is really only ranked this high because of the storyline. The Phil Jurkovec revenge trip to Notre Dame Stadium could boost him to a big-time performance. Beyond that, the Eagles aren’t a major threat. This team is not a bad pick to finish last in the ACC, and the Irish should ultimately cruise on Senior Day. 

Notre Dame Schedule: Tricky, But Should Be Wins

  1. Marshall

It’s tempting to rank the Thundering Herd even higher. This is a really good team with an electrifying running back in Rasheen Ali. This is a potential 9-10 win team if things break right. It’s a tricky home opener. Regardless of the Week 1 result, emotions will be high after the Ohio State game. Much like Toledo last year, this one could get tricky in a hurry. 

  1. USC

I’m not buying the top-15 USC narrative at this time. The Trojans still have a lot of work to do after going 4-8 last season. They’ll be good, but they’re barely in the upper 50% of difficulty on the Notre Dame schedule. The offensive talent is certainly good, but USC’s passing game was good last year. The issues centered around offensive versatility and defense. Those questions persist, and an unbalanced team will not beat Notre Dame in 2022. 

  1. Syracuse

This could be a real nerve-wracking game for a few reasons. Firstly, Syracuse is a lot better than in recent years. The Orange are a real threat to win seven-plus games this year, buoyed by a strong defense. Their ceiling could be as high as nine games. Their linebacker corps is arguably a top-ten unit in the country. Throw in the timing of this game as an added challenge. After two soft games versus Stanford and UNLV, the Irish go on the road to upstate New York for a tricky trap game with Clemson looming the week after. 

Notre Dame Schedule: Difficult

  1. UNC 

Another tricky team against a team that feels ready for a bounce-back year. The Tar Heels are a tricky opponent that should be 3-0 with some momentum at the time of this game. The Irish have had issues putting away UNC in the past couple of meetings. The Tar Heels have questions to answer after Sam Howell departs at quarterback, but the roster is a solid one. Last year, Notre Dame won this matchup in a shootout, which isn’t their preferred style of victory. UNC feels like the type of team that’s probably a 6-6 or 7-5 squad, but if some questions are answered, they could be a top-20 caliber opponent. And road top-20 games aren’t to be overlooked. 

  1. BYU 

The Irish have never lost a Shamrock Series game but they’ll get their second straight difficult test in the contest. A year after triumphing over Wisconsin, Notre Dame hits up Sin City to take on BYU. The Cougars return a stunning 88% of their overall production from 2021, including 97% on the defensive side of the ball. They’re an experienced and talented team with the definite ability to give the Irish a headache. 

  1. Clemson

Two days shy of two years after the Irish faithful stormed the field following a win against Clemson, they’ll face the Tigers at home once more in a potential top-five battle. While the storylines will develop, the preseason tale of the tape features a pair of the country’s top defenses and offenses that have questions to answer. In the penultimate home game of the Notre Dame schedule, the Irish have a chance at a signature win in the Freeman Era. 


  1. Ohio State

In opening the Notre Dame schedule, the Irish face their most difficult regular season test in several years. They take on Ohio State in their first road top-5 clash since 2019 versus Georgia. The Irish lost that game 23-17 and had a chance to win in the final minute. Entering the battle in Columbus as a comparable underdog, the Irish need a lot to go right as they face potentially the country’s most explosive offense, complete with several Heisman candidates.

Embed from Getty Images


More Posts

LSU Defense Exposed

Ole Miss outlasted LSU in an offensive explosion in which the fireworks were on full display. In a game that was a joy for fans

2023 Week Five Bowl Projections

2023 Week Five Bowl Projections

Another Exciting Week in the Books Welcome to our 2023 Week Five Bowl Projections. While this past weekend’s slate of games may not have matched

Send Us A Message