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Notre Dame Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022

Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football

New starting quarterback Tyler Buchner and the Fighting Irish have plenty of intriguing matchups awaiting them in head coach Marcus Freeman's debut season.

New head coach. New starting quarterback. New defensive coordinator. New TV broadcast team.

One constant: expectations for high levels of success.

Related: Notre Dame Football 2022 Season Preview and Prediction

Those expectations will be put to the test from the onset when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish open the season against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sept. 2 in Columbus. Head coach Marcus Freeman will lead the Fighting Irish into a regular-season schedule with just two of the first five games set to be played inside Notre Dame Stadium, a slate that also features road trips to Chapel Hill and Los Angeles as well as neutral-site matchups with BYU on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas and with Navy on Nov. 12 in Baltimore.

How can Notre Dame perform in Freeman's first year at the helm? Some of the experts at Athlon Sports pick every game on the Fighting Irish's 2022 football schedule.

GameSteven LassanMark RossJuan Jose Rodriguez

at Ohio State

Ohio State

Ohio State

Ohio State

Marshall

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

California

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

at North Carolina

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

vs. BYU (Las Vegas)

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Stanford

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

UNLV

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

at Syracuse

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Clemson

Clemson

Clemson

Notre Dame

vs. Navy (Baltimore)

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Boston College

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

at USC

USC

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Final Record

9-3

10-2

11-1

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
New coach Marcus Freeman inherits a team capable of pushing for a trip to the CFB Playoff, but the Fighting Irish face a tough opener at Ohio State and still have to get by Clemson and USC later in the season. However, the big gap between the matchup at the Buckeyes (Sept. 3) and vs. the Tigers (Nov. 5) could work in Notre Dame's favor. The front seven on defense is a strength, and the team can lean on a strong offensive line and ground game to power the way early in the year. But if the Fighting Irish are going to push for double-digit wins and a playoff spot, quarterback Tyler Buchner's development is the biggest x-factor. Buchner did not throw more than 14 passes in a single contest last year, and although there's plenty of upside and mobility, he still has room to grow as a passer. A thin group of receivers is a concern for Buchner's development as well.

I have Notre Dame at nine wins, but I could easily see this team getting to 10 or 11. Buchner's development and solidifying depth at cornerback hold the keys to success in Freeman's first year.

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Marcus Freeman has some big shoes to fill taking over for Brian Kelly, but he also inherits a pretty talented roster. If Tyler Buchner proves he is ready to be the starting quarterback, the offense has the potential to be even better compared to last season, especially if some reliable targets outside of tight end Michael Mayer emerge. Defense is Freeman's calling card, and he also has new coordinator Al Golden to mold a unit that returns both talent and experience, although depth at some key spots could be an issue. As usual, Notre Dame's schedule is interesting with plenty of marquee matchups but also more than enough winnable games. However, it's the former, namely the opener at Ohio State, a home date with Clemson, and the finale on the road against USC, that put the ceiling on this team at 10 wins for the regular season. But the floor shouldn't be much lower, either, meaning the Irish are poised for another fine season despite the coaching change.

Juan Jose Rodriguez (@JuanJoseRG02)
Notre Dame enters the 2022 season with plenty of excitement in anticipation of Freeman's regular-season debut, but a daunting opener against Ohio State — on the road in Columbus, no less — has left that optimism clouded with plenty of caution. Any momentum from a close, well-played game, however — let alone an upset win — will undoubtedly carry forward into a pair of home games. Potentially another Top 25 showdown remains possible with BYU in Week 6 in Las Vegas before a November that features a home matchup with Clemson, the annual meeting with Navy, and a trip to USC lurking at season's end. Sophomore dual-threat quarterback Tyler Buchner played in 10 games for Notre Dame in 2021, and his dynamic playmaking skill set as the starter for Notre Dame will be key for the Fighting Irish to sustain any semblance of high-powered offense in 2022. The loss of graduate student wide receiver Avery Davis to his second torn ACL in as many seasons means that the presence of junior tight end Michael Mayer in the middle of the field will loom even larger than previously anticipated. Versatile playmaker Isaiah Foskey will look to build on his 11 sacks and six forced fumbles as the on-field leader under new defensive coordinator Al Golden, but Buchner's ability to grow and lead this group will be one to continue to watch closely as the team strives to come together with plenty of new faces in key roles.

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