Notre Dame has rarely shied away from marquee openers over its 125-year history of playing football. This year, however, is a different story.
Temple, under new head coach Matt Rhule, makes its first pilgrimage to Notre Dame Stadium Saturday to open the Irish's season.
The Owls finished 4-7 a year ago in the final year of the Big East and now transition to the American Athletic Conference, a mix of the remaining Big East schools and newcomers from Conference USA. New starting quarterback Connor Reilly was the holder last season, while nine-game starter Chris Coyer has moved to H-back.
The Irish are favored at most gambling locales by around 30 points, the largest point spread for a Notre Dame game since USC was a 32-point favorite in 2008. Despite the expected lack of competitiveness, there is plenty to be learned Saturday afternoon about how the 2013 Irish will ultimately look over the course of the next 14 weeks.
Here are seven areas on which to focus as you're watching Saturday's season opener.
Note: Quotes obtained courtesy of UND.com.