Notre Dame football opponent rankings show an easy road ahead

Athlon has ranked every team on Notre Dame football's schedule and it turns out that the Irish don't have a toughey at all.
Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA

With June just about here, it’s time to really start thinking about what’s on the road ahead for Notre Dame football. For now, Athlon has started to do the thinking for us. While the Irish are expected to head to the playoffs in 2024, the publication took a look at exactly why many think they’re making the final 12.

Athlon’s rankings of the teams that are on the Notre Dame schedule shows that there just aren’t many tougheys on there. In fact, the schedule looks like it’s a bit of a cakewalk. There are a couple of trap games on there and one battle of the titans, but it’s clear why people think the Irish are in for a good 2024.

Notre Dame football schedule shouldn’t be too difficult for 2024

At the bottom of the rankings is the Navy Midshipmen. It should not surprise many the service academy is expected to be a bit of a walk-over. After all, last year, Notre Dame thumped them 42-3 in Dublin. It doesn’t appear Navy is expected to be better this year as Athlon has them ranked 96th.

The Irish also play Army, who isn’t ranked much better. The publication has them ranked 92nd in the country. 

The third weakest opponent on Notre Dame’s schedule is 84th ranked Northern Illinois. Of course, while they’re not ranked high in this preseason poll, they did go to a bowl last season.

75th ranked Stanford is next up. The Irish had no problem handling the Cardinal last year. It’s unlikely they’ll have much issue in 2024.

Miami of Ohio is barely better than Stanford, coming in ranked 73rd and then there’s Purdue at 64th. Virginia ranked 58th and Georgia Tech ranked 42nd means the Irish have eight opponents who are ranked outside the preseason Top 40 by Athlon. 

Louisville, who manhandled the Irish a year ago are one of the toughest opponents they’ll face, as the Cardinals are ranked 28th. Then its USC at 26th and Texas A&M at number 19.

The toughest opponent on Notre Dame football’s schedule should surprise no one. When they take on 10th ranked Florida State on November 9 it very well could be a playoff warmup.

As for where Notre Dame was ranked? They’re higher than everyone on the schedule as Athlon has them ranked 8th ahead of the 2024 season.