Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2016 Football Schedule and Analysis

Notre Dame's season-ending clash at USC is just one of several marquee games on tap for the Irish this fall

At Notre Dame, the football schedule is always one that takes the team from coast to coast, playing in all parts of the country. The 2016 schedule is no exception, as the Irish go to the west, southwest, southeast and northeast as well as playing their home games in the Midwest.


In accordance with its ACC agreement, Notre Dame will battle five teams from the conference. The Irish also will play three teams that are annually on their schedule. In addition, the Irish will welcome the return of a traditional foe to the schedule after a two-year absence.


Related: Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2016 Spring Football Preview


2016 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule


Bye: Week 8


Wk Opp. Date Location

Sept. 4

7:30 PM ET


Austin, TX

Texas Payback? It was recently announced that the game between the Irish and the Horns will be played on Sept. 4, making it essentially a stand-alone game on the Sunday before the NFL regular season opens. Texas will be seeking to avenge last year’s 38-3 defeat in South Bend.


Sept. 10

3:30 PM ET


Notre Dame, Ind.

Former Irish assistant Brian Polian brings the defending Arizona Bowl champs into Notre Dame Stadium for the second time in school history. Nevada returns one of its two 1,000-yard rushers in James Butler along with quarterback Tyler Stewart.


Sept. 17

7:30 PM ET


Niotre Dame, Ind.

Spartans Return to South Bend After a two-year hiatus, Michigan State is back on Notre Dame’s schedule. The 2015 Big Ten champion and College Football Playoff participant will have to replace quarterback Connor Cook, wide receiver Aaron Burbridge and six starters from a rugged defense. But head coach Mark D’Antonio has built a program that is tough year in and year out.


Sept. 24

3:30 PM ET


Notre Dame, Ind.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was scheduled to be the Irish quarterbacks coach under Charlie Weis in 2005. But a health issue forced his resignation before the first game of that season. A now healthy Cutcliffe has built the once moribund Duke program into a perennial bowl contender.

5. Oct. 1 East Rutherford, NJ

For the second time in three years, the Irish go to the Meadowlands to play a road game against Syracuse. Orange quarterback Eric Dungey should make progress under new head coach Dino Babers, but it’s the development of the Syracuse defense that will determine its success level in 2016.

6. Oct. 8 Raleigh, NC

After opening the home schedule by playing the Wolf Pack, the Irish trek to Raleigh to play the Wolfpack in week six. The two teams have met up just once, when Philip Rivers led NC State to a 28-6 win in the 2003 Gator Bowl.

7. Oct. 15 Notre Dame, Ind.

Cardinal Clash None of the last four games between the Irish and the Cardinal have been decided by more than a touchdown, with the home team winning each time. Christian McCaffrey would like his Heisman resume to include a big game at Notre Dame.

9. Oct. 29 Notre Dame, Ind.

While this may not have the same fire as the Notre Dame-Miami games of the late ‘80s, new head coach Mark Richt should breathe some life into the Hurricanes’ program. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya has some weapons in running back Joseph Yearby and wide receiver Stacy Coley.

10. Nov. 5 Jacksonville, FL

Notre Dame and Navy will butt heads for the 90th time, with Jacksonville, Fla., being the locale on this occasion. Keenan Reynolds will no longer be the Navy quarterback, something that makes fans of many teams (including Notre Dame) very happy.

11. Nov. 12 San Antonio, TX

The Irish go back-to-back with the service academies when they play Army in the annual Shamrock Series game. The Cadets are coming off a disappointing 2-10 season that ended with a 21-17 loss to Navy.

12. Nov. 19 Notre Dame, Ind.

This will be the first-ever contest between the two proud programs. The Hokies are another team ushering in a new era, with Justin Fuente replacing Virginia Tech legend Frank Beamer as head coach.

13. Nov. 26 Los Angeles, CA

Trojan Tussle It’s an even-numbered year and that means that Notre Dame will wrap up its regular season with a trip to Southern California to play the Trojans. By this point in the season, USC’s new quarterback will have plenty of experience but will still lean heavily on a ground game led by Ronald Jones.


— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.

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