10 Things that will define the 2021 Notre Dame football season
9. Rivalry Games
Notre Dame football has four of its traditional rivals on the schedule, Purdue, USC, Navy, and Stanford. These games, on their face, are going to be completely different matchups. Purdue has a good passing attack but is a bit of a pushover otherwise.
USC has a lot of talent, but there are also concerns about the coaching staff. Navy was terrible last season, but the triple option is always difficult to deal with. Then, at the end of the season, Stanford who has given Notre Dame problems in the past and will want to play a very physical game.
These four games, however, are going to be incredibly important in terms of setting the tone of the season. These are games that matter to teams and their fans, though, which ultimately have more impact than those games against a random ACC team.
So, no, winning these games probably won’t save Notre Dame’s season if other games go poorly. Losing them will make things worse, though. Beating a rival is a simple and impactful thing that you can do to make your entire season better.