Notre Dame football: Irish entering difficult stretch of 2021 schedule

The Notre Dame football team has gotten out to a 3-0 start, but the next three games could make or break their 2021 season.

Getting to 3-0 this season has not been easy, as the Notre Dame football team barely beat Florida State and Toledo to open the year. Sure, they were in control for the most part against Purdue, but there are some serious questions as to whether or not this program can get back to the College Football Playoff this season.

With a win against Purdue now in the rearview mirror, the Irish turn their attention to a three-game stretch that could make-or-break their season heading into their bye. First up is the Wisconsin Badgers, the No. 18 ranked team in the country, and one who has looked much better after a season-opening loss.

Notre Dame football facing tough competition before their bye week

Notre Dame football will take on Wisconsin inside Soldier Field, in a game that will be must-see television next weekend. From there, they head back home, where they face the best team on their schedule, as the No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats come to town in a game that is loaded with storylines.

Cincinnati is a team that is also fighting for respect, and they have an elite quarterback in Desmond Ridder, who could be an early first-round pick next April. Finally, the Irish head to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies, a team that has shown they can dominate at home already this season.

Going into this three-game stretch, the Irish have many injuries on both sides of the ball, including upfront along the offensive line. The defense has also given up a ton of big plays already this season, and Wisconsin, Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech can score in bunches if they get it going on offense.

The truth is, if the Notre Dame football team can somehow run this three-game gauntlet unscathed, they will not only be ranked in the top-10 but could be looking towards another CFP appearance. This is the most important stretch of their 2021 season, and it will all start inside Soldier Field where Jack Coan will get to battle it out against his former teammates.