After another solid win last week vs No. 24 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Notre Dame football is back in South Bend for their matchup with the Pittsburgh Panthers. Here are the biggest storylines to watch for.
Coming off another top-25 win over Virginia Tech last week, Notre Dame is 6-0 and off to their best start since 2014. The three biggest games on the Irish schedule coming into the season are now behind them and they’ve passed all three tests with flying colors. With the offensive problems to start the year now remedied, the only question remaining about this team is whether or not they can finish the season undefeated and finally get their foot in the College Football Playoff door.
The short answer is yes, they absolutely can.
The Irish are heavy favorites in their remaining six games, with their lowest win probability being 69.8 percent vs USC according to ESPN. While the highly ranked matchups might be done for Notre Dame, teams like Navy and Syracuse at neutral sights and USC on the road present their own set of challenges.
It’s college football, anything can happen.
The good news is that this is by far one of the most talented Irish teams in recent memory — one that many would say is substantially better than the 2012 National Championship contending squad. The depth, playmakers, and dare I say the coaching has this team firing on all cylinders and in the driver’s seat for controlling their own destiny moving forward.
This week’s matchup features a struggling Pittsburgh team back in the friendly confines of South Bend. This is the first matchup with the Panthers since 2015 and the first time these teams have played in Notre Dame Stadium since the improbable 29-26 three overtime Irish win in 2012.
Pitt features one of the worst passing offenses in the country as well as a bottom-tiered defense ranked 107th in total defense and giving up 33 points per contest. On paper, this is a tune-up game for the Irish — just like Ball State and Vandy were supposed to be.
Regardless, it’s the most important game of the season because it’s the next one. Here are the top storylines to watch for: