A Breakdown Of Notre Dame's 2013 Schedule

By Corey Elliot
Matt Cashore-US Presswire

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be an interesting story in 2013.

Where will this team be on a scale of last year’s success raising this season’s expectations?

I’m anticipating a 10-2 season with a possible chance of 8-4 if Brian Kelly does not open up the playbook for Everett Golson like he did against Oklahoma last season.

Of course, any Notre Dame season under four losses somehow qualifies for BCS bowl game discussion.

Still haven’t quite understood that.

Regardless, do not be surprised if a 9-3 Irish team receives their “entitlement bowl bid”—especially since they went to the national championship game last season.

Here are the basics: Temple, Air Force, Purdue and Navy are your four guaranteed wins for 2013.

Those four schools will be lucky to win their spring games.

The Irish should be able to take out an Oklahoma team, at home, that will be struggling to find its identity next season after QB Landry Jones graduated. The usual opponents like Michigan State and Pitt along with BYU will also prove to be fairly easy victories for the Irish as long as they are not overlooked.

It sounds simple, but for a team that almost blew it against the lesser Panthers and Cougars at home last season, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Here are the tough tests: at Michigan, at Stanford, at home against USC and Arizona State at Cowboys Stadium—a neutral location.

Notre Dame should pat themselves on the back if they can get out of Stanford alive—you know, like Lenay Kekua alive—because I don’t see the Irish winning that game. The Cardinal will be the favorites to win the Pac 12 and sophomore QB Kevin Hogan will have half of a freshman campaign that ended with a victory in the Rose Bowl as the foundation of his sophomore coming out party. I understand Golson has just as much potential this season as Hogan, but again, it all depends on how the Irish use him. If they do not allow him to spread his wings and take shots down field and limit him to dink and dunk passes with less talent in the backfield to hand off to this season while relying a lot on his legs, I think the Irish are going to shoot themselves in the foot.

USC is always unpredictable; however, I think the Irish chalk that up in the win column again in 2013. As for Michigan, well, if the Irish have five turnovers and fail to score on one of them again this fall, it will be a long night for Notre Dame. That was the luckiest game ever last season. Denard Robinson played like he had never thrown a football in his life and had it not been for Manti Te’o leading an impressive takeaway effort, Notre Dame might have still lost despite the poor play from the Wolverines.

Arizona State is the game that could surprise a lot of people. It has seems like the Sun Devils have been flirting with success forever now. I would like to think the Irish take this game, but Dallas is a lot closer to Arizona than Indiana and unfortunately for Notre Dame, this neutral site game isn’t in Ireland or Chicago so it won’t be so cozy for the Irish on the road.

2013 will be our chance to see where exactly the Irish are and whether or not 2012 was a fluke or if it was truly the return of Notre Dame Football.

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