Notre Dame football’s season opener with Duke is now less than a month away, which means it’s time to make some bold predictions about the 2020 Fighting Irish.
There hasn’t been much “normal” with anything in 2020, including college football. Conferences moving their seasons to the spring, delayed starts, conference-only schedules, players opting out, safety concerns – the world of college football has been nothing short of complete chaos.
This chaos will come to a head in less than a month when those conferences who are playing this fall (for now) strap up and begin their seasons.
For Notre Dame football, per usual they have been in the spotlight and put in a unique situation for the upcoming season. After the announcement of conferences moving to a conference-only schedule, Notre Dame was obviously in a pickle, as their Independent affiliation left them with no conference opponents.
The Irish and the ACC already had an agreement to play 4-6 ACC opponents each season, so naturally it made sense for the ACC to essentially adopt Notre Dame for the 2020 season. This allows Notre Dame to have a set schedule with all ACC opponents and compete for the ACC Championship at the end of the season.
Not seeing the usual rivals like USC, Navy, and Stanford on the schedule is certainly weird, but it’s a lot better than no schedule at all. Ironically, Notre Dame will actually play an easier schedule on paper as a full ACC member.
As of today, the ACC and Notre Dame are still committed to playing this fall. The Irish are back in full pads and in full season-prep for Duke. The regular off-season headlines surrounding South Bend have revolved around the return of Ian Book, high expectations for the offensive line, question marks at the receiver position, and young players on the roster stepping up into impact roles.
Much like all of college football, it’s hard to gauge this Notre Dame team, especially considering such a weird off-season coupled with no spring football. Having a veteran quarterback returning helps with that tremendously, but a lot of things seem very much in the air.
These unknowns and unusual off-season certainly add another level of craziness to these bold predictions. A 10-game regular season, the CFP and bowl games relatively unknown – there are a lot of variables at play.
With that being said, let’t take a look at some bold and possibly outrageous predictions for the 2020 Fighting Irish football season.