Notre Dame’s next game may be 8 months away, but that won’t stop the Irish faithful from analyzing the schedule and making some bold, albeit very early predictions. The most notable games are quite obvious. For the second year in a row brand name powers Ohio State, USC and Clemson are all on the slate again.
But what about the under-the-radar games? Games that are easily glanced over and by on the schedule. These are the games to really be wary of. Examples? Please refer to recent debacles known as the Marshall and Stanford games this past season.
Let’s explore the top three “trap games” on the Irish’s very diverse and interesting 2023 slate.
Sep 16, 2017; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko watches warmups before the game against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Firstly, I am thrilled for Duke head coach Mike Elko who you may remember from his days coaching at Notre Dame. He is a man of integrity I fully respect and is a great personality fit for Duke. He has Duke trending in the right direction after a solid 9-4 2022 campaign.
What concerns me about this game is its’ position in the schedule falling the week after Ohio State. Whether Notre Dame wins or loses against the Buckeyes, there will be a natural physical and mental hangover the next week. Notre Dame must be prepared to battle through this on the road vs a team that will be eager to challenge the Irish.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish finish singing the alma mater song after the game of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl of an NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 30, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish held off the South Carolina Gamecocks 45-38. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] Jki 123022 Ncaaf Nd Usc Cp 10
This isn’t a typo. I have back-to-back games as traps but in 2 very different ways. Historically, when Notre Dame travels to Louisville it naturally feels and is built up as their Super Bowl while on the Irish side, not to be rude but Lousiville excites nobody in any way.
This will be a “Louisville Blackout” night game with all the bells and whistles. Everyone wants to beat Notre Dame. Always. Notre Dame must find a way to try and negate the energy and vibe and grind out a win in a tough environment against a team that doesn’t move the emotional needle from the Irish side.
Nov. 18-Wake Forest
Nov 19, 2022; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman (10) looks for a receiver as Syracuse Orange linebacker Marlowe Wax (2) charges towards him during the first half at Truist Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
This game is ultra-unique in 2 ways. Firstly, Notre Dame now has acquired Wake Forest’s successful starting quarterback [autotag]Sam Hartman[/autotag]. I’d imagine this will provide the opponent plenty of motivation to try and show Sam he made the wrong move.
Secondly, this game occurs after the post-Clemson bye week. How will the Irish perform after what will be a very physical battle with Clemson and then waiting 2 more weeks to play? The Irish can afford no “sleepwalking” out of the break.
See Notre Dame’s entire 12 game schedule here
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