Notre Dame's Week 1 tilt against Navy should excite you for at least one reason: The game is in Dublin. No, not Dublin, Ohio. I'm talking about Ireland.
This rivalry dates back to 1914, making it the longest running intersectional rivalry in college football. The Fighting Irish lead the series 71-12-1, but rivalries always have upset potential.
The Irish will do battle with the Midshipmen in a non-traditional setting, but football is football. On top of the unique location, we also have a unique start time for this contest.
Let's preview this contest from top to bottom, starting with where you can catch all the action.
Where: Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland
When: Saturday, September 1 at 9 a.m. ET
TV: CBS in the United States or ESPN America in Europe
*Check ESPN America's list of European countries here
Radio: IMG College Sports, Armed Forces Network, SIRIUS and XM satellite radio (channel 129)
*Notre Dame specific channels include 96.1 FM, 960 AM WSBT and Sunny 101.5 FM
Betting Line: Notre Dame (-16) according to bovada.com
Now, let's get into the fun stuff.
Notre Dame Player to Watch: Everett Golson, QB
Brian Kelly named Everett Golson his Week 1 starter after a grueling quarterback competition between the sophomore and Andrew Hendrix in training camp.
This should come as a relief to Irish fans. Golson's skill set is tailor-made for Kelly's spread attack, and his dynamic playmaking ability could immediately solidify Notre Dame's weakest spot.
Golson took a redshirt last year, but gained valuable experience as a member of the scout team. That's much different than regular-season action, but his athleticism is beyond exciting.
Golson's high school accolades speak for themselves. He graduated from Myrtle Beach High School with 151 career touchdown passes, sixth most in high school history.
Notre Dame had big problems at quarterback last season. Tommy Rees and Hendrix couldn't get the job done, and the offense's flow suffered because of it. Golson's physical abilities give the Irish offense an energetic injection, but his decision-making must be up to snuff.
Golson won't have Cierre Wood to lean on in the backfield as he serves his two-game suspension, but Theo Riddick will be there to lend a hand. He can't try to do too much.
No one will have more eyes on him than Golson when Saturday morning's contest rolls around. He's the key to Notre Dame's season.
Navy Player to Watch: Trey Miller, QB
You can refer to Navy's offense as the flexbone, or triple-option, attack, but one thing is certain: The Midshipmen's quarterback must make excellent decisions.
Miller will be charged with that task this season after playing in just six games last year. It's not an easy offense to learn, and it has a ton of minute nuances. Above all else, experience is necessary to execute the correct pitch.
Miller will be flanked by three potential ball-carriers most of the time. He will attempt enough passes to keep the defense guessing, but his main job will involve his legs.
Executing the option comes down to reading the defensive front. Miller must recognize if the defensive end comes too far up the field, or if he stays home. That will dictate where he pitches, or hands, the ball next.
Learning this style of offense can be an adjustment. The Irish will stack the box, and Miller's mental toughness will be tested early and often.
It's rare to watch the triple-option run to perfection, and Miller will do his best to show us what that looks like.
Notre Dame Wins If...
The Irish win if they play their game. This team has enough talent to push 10 wins this season, and this should be a relatively easy building block, despite the emotional rivalry.
This will be a great opportunity for Notre Dame's defense to work out any remaining kinks. We know what to expect from Manti Te'o, but what about the rest of the Irish defenders?
Kapron Lewis-Moore, Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt will have their chances to prove their worth. Facing Navy's run-heavy attack, they will be expected to hold their own up front.
It will also be a test for Ben Councell, Dan Fox and the rest of Te'o's supporting cast.
Notre Dame is expected to win this game, and it should do so in dominant fashion.
Navy Wins If...
Navy will win if it does what it does best. The Midshipmen will rely on ball control on offense, and a victory would require them to force a few turnovers from the Irish offense.
The possibility of this is slim, but you never know. Golson has never started a regular-season game, and playing in Ireland gives this game an odd feel to it.
If the moment is too big for Golson, the Midshipmen could make this game interesting. One early turnover could snowball, and momentum will be everything for Navy's overmatched squad.
Navy will start five seniors on the defensive side of the ball. If Miller can control the clock, the defense's experience could lend a helping hand.
It's going to be an uphill battle for Navy, but crazier things have happened. Nonetheless, make sure you crawl out of bed early on Saturday to catch this one live.
Notre Dame 34, Navy 13
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