Notre Dame and Navy to Open 2012 College Football Season in Dublin

By Kris Hughes

One of the longest-running rivalries in college football will take on a new twist this year, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Navy Midshipmen will square off on the gridiron in the Emerald Isle Classic in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday, September 1st.

It’s not the first time Notre Dame and Navy have played in Ireland, the last being a 54-27 Notre Dame win in 1996. Navy has gained some traction as a nationally-reputable program in recent years, and has won three of the last five meetings between the schools dating back to 2007.

The game will be televised by CBS Sports at 9 a.m. eastern time on September 1st, which equates to a 2 p.m. local time kickoff at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

According to reports, the stadium of 45,000 has already sold out, and the crowd promises to be as raucous as it was in 1996 when the teams last played.

Notre Dame will be led on the offensive side of the ball in 2012 by one of four potential quarterbacking candidates.

Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and Gunner Kiel will all compete for the signal calling spot this fall and whomever emerges will have the Eyes of the Irish firmly on their backs in South Bend this fall. With the loss of star defensive end Aaron Lynch to transfer, Notre Dame will be looking for a leader on defense as well in the early-going. In short, there is plenty of uncertainty in South Bend, and the season opener against Navy will give us all an idea of what direction Brian Kelly plans to go in.

Navy, on the other hand, has fewer questions to answer, but will still be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 5-7 campaign in 2011.

Junior quarterback Trey Miller promises to take over at quarterback and will be tasked with bringing Ken Niumatalolo’s high-octane offense back to its former self. On the defensive side of the ball, the Midshipmen will be looking to make up for some key losses both on the line and in the backfield going into 2012, and will need several underclassmen to step up into roles which will require more playing time.

It’ll be an early start, but a welcome one, to the 2012 college football season when these two traditional powers take to the gridiron in Ireland.

Kris Hughes is a Network Manager for Rant Sports. If you enjoy his takes, you can follow Kris on Twitter, check out his personal Facebook page, or stop by his personal Tumblr page. 

A few other stories about the Emerald Isle Classic:

CBS to broadcast Notre Dame and Navy from Ireland:

Notre Dame and Navy to open season in Ireland:

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