Notre Dame football: Ranking the best road trips of the 2021 schedule

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Notre Dame Football (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Notre Dame Football (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame football: Ranking the best road trips of the 2021 schedule

3. Florida State-Doak Campbell Stadium. Tallahassee, FL

The Irish and the Seminoles have played some amazing games historically, even if recent history has been a string of big Notre Dame wins. Of course, the last time the two met in Tallahassee, the two unbeaten opponents came down to the wire, with an offensive pass interference on a rub route ultimately costing Notre Dame the game.

Everyone knows the tradition at Florida State, with the Tomahawk Chop and Chief Osceola Renegade coming into the stadium to plant the flaming spear. When Florida State is good, this is one of the best atmospheres in all of college football.

Given that this is a week 1 matchup, expect the ‘Noles fans to bring that excitement, and for it to be about 10,000 degrees. In other words, this is going to be a uniquely amazing atmosphere for a game.

Of course, Florida State has been bad in recent years, but year two under Mike Norvell, without the disruptions of the pandemic, could show significant improvement. They’ll certainly benefit from having a quality quarterback in place now, as McKenzie Milton has joined Florida State as a grad transfer. So, this could be an incredibly good game if Milton and company get going offensively.

As far as Tallahassee goes, it’s not the greatest city to visit in Florida, even with it being the capital. Still, there are Gulf Coast beaches not too far away, so you’ll be able to find something to do on a hot Florida weekend.

Notre Dame
Notre Dame /

Notre Dame football: Ranking the best road trips of the 2021 schedule

2. Stanford-Stanford Stadium. Palo Alto, CA

The Stanford Cardinal are the only traditional rival Notre Dame is going to play on the road in 2021. Playing at Stanford Stadium has been difficult for Notre Dame in recent years, even though it’s not a stadium known for being particularly loud or difficult to play in for opponents historically.

Still, the importance surrounding this game is undeniable. That makes it a great road trip on its own.

The surrounding community is also gorgeous, and a welcome escape from a Midwest winter. From theaters to shopping centers, to restaurants, there are tons to get out and do around Stanford. You’re also only 45 minutes to San Francisco, so even if all Palo Alto has to offer isn’t enough, you have easy access to one of America’s most popular cities.

On the field, Stanford is a bit difficult to judge. 2019 was rough, and it seemed like their B1G 10, smash-mouth style of play was finally starting to falter. Then, in 2020, a year where judging the PAC-12 was impossible, they showed life again. They ended on a four-game winning streak, including beating the true PAC-12 North champion Washington. So, they seem to be turning back around and improving once again. It could be a very difficult for Notre Dame, like usual.

All in all, this is a great road trip.