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Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish's 2020 Schedule Analysis

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Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish's 2020 Schedule Analysis

Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish's 2020 Schedule Analysis

In these uncertain times, no one knows what is going to happen next week, never mind four months from now. What we do know is that Notre Dame has a 2020 football schedule and they are planning on playing 12 regular-season games.

Assuming there are games this fall (or as some have suggested, next spring), Notre Dame is in a good position to have another successful season. They will, however, be tested on several occasions, with the biggest challenge coming late in the year against one of the nation's true power teams.

Here is a breakdown of what Notre Dame will be facing when the season gets started.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2020 Schedule

Bye: Week 8

Week 1 — TBD at Navy (Annapolis, Md.)

On June 2, Notre Dame announced that its annual meeting with historic rival Navy had been relocated from Dublin, Ireland to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, after "extensive consultation" with the Irish government, medical authorities, and the administrative staffs at both schools, according to a press release. It is expected that this game will now take place over Labor Day weekend since both teams were set to be off following their originally scheduled trans-Atlantic trip. Regardless of where or when this game is played, Navy will have to deal with the challenge of replacing star quarterback Malcolm Perry, who ran for 2,017 yards and 21 scores in 2019.

Week 2 — Sept. 12 vs. Arkansas (Notre Dame, Ind.)

New Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman has a lot of work to do as the Hogs are coming off a season where they won just two games and went 0-8 in the SEC. While Arkansas struggled on defense and throwing the ball in 2019, Rakeem Boyd is back for his senior season after posting more than 1,100 rushing yards last year.

Week 3 — Sept. 19 vs. Western Michigan (Notre Dame, Ind.)

The Broncos have the unenviable task of having to replace both star quarterback Jon Wassink and 1,400-yard rusher LeVante Bellamy. The good news is that linebacker Treshaun Hayward, who finished third nationally with 142 tackles, will be back to lead the defense.

Week 4 — Sept. 26 vs. Wake Forest (Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.)

In the second of Notre Dame’s four neutral-site games, the Irish will battle the Demon Deacons in Charlotte. This will be the teams' sixth meeting since 2011 and Notre Dame has won the previous five by an average of 21 points.

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Week 5 — Oct. 3 vs. Wisconsin (Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.)

This game at historic Lambeau Filed will be considered an Irish home game while the Badgers will be the hosts when the two teams play at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2021. Superstar running back Jonathan Taylor will be missed but defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard's unit should again be one of the best in the country.

Week 6 — Oct. 10 vs. Stanford (Notre Dame, Ind.)

Last year's 4-8 finish was the worst Stanford record since the Cardinal went 4-8 in 2007, Jim Harbaugh's first season in Palo Alto. There has been a great deal of roster turnover for David Shaw's team this offseason and expectations are not high going into the fall.

Week 7 — Oct. 17 at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh)

Even in the years that Notre Dame is strong, Pittsburgh is always trouble. The most recent example was in 2018 when the playoff-bound Irish struggled to get by a Panthers squad that finished the season 7-7. Pat Narduzzi's 2020 team should be strong on defense with a veteran secondary and stars like Jalen Twyman and Patrick Jones up front.

Week 9 — Oct. 31 vs. Duke (Notre Dame, Ind.)

The Irish clubbed the Blue Devils five months ago in Durham. But the last time Duke journeyed to Notre Dame, they emerged victorious during Notre Dame's ugly 2016 season. Much like last season's game, Duke's problem could be scoring enough points to challenge the Irish.

Week 10 — Nov. 7 vs. Clemson (Notre Dame, Ind.)

In what could be a matchup of top-10 teams, Clemson makes its first trip to Notre Dame since 1979. This will probably be Trevor Lawrence's last season with the Tigers before entering the NFL Draft and he has some serious weapons in Travis Etienne and Justyn Ross.

Week 11 — Nov. 14 at Georgia Tech (Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)

Technically, this will be a neutral-site game as it will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and not at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Jackets should be improved in Geoff Collins' second year but have to find a passing game to take the load off running back Jordan Mason.

Week 12 — Nov. 21 vs. Louisville (Notre Dame, Ind.)

Like Geoff Collins, Scott Satterfield is entering his second season as the head coach of an ACC team. But the expectations at Louisville are much higher after the Cardinals went 8-5 last year. With stars like Micale Cunningham, Javian Hawkins, and Tutu Atwell all back, Satterfield should have an explosive offense.

Week 13 — Nov. 28 at USC (Los Angeles)

JT Daniels has entered his name into the transfer portal which is a clear indication that the quarterback job belongs to Kedon Slovis. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Vaughns, and Drake London headline a deep and talented receiving corps for Slovis to throw to, but the big question will be how new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando can put the pieces in place on the other side of the ball.

— Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, covering the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.