Notre Dame Football: A Look Ahead at the Irish's 2016 Schedule

Mike MonacoContributor IFebruary 10, 2016

The student section at Notre Dame Stadium wave their arms during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Navy, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won the game 41-24. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — With snow lining the Midwest campus, Notre Dame football’s season opener in September against Texas seems far away.

But with yesterday’s scheduling announcement regarding the November matchup against Navy—a game that will start at, yes, 11:30 a.m. ET—let’s look toward sunshine and the upcoming 2016 slate.

Notre Dame's 2016 Schedule
WeekDateOpponentLocation
1Sept. 3at TexasAustin, Texas
2Sept. 10vs. NevadaNotre Dame
3Sept. 17vs. Michigan StateNotre Dame
4Sept. 24vs. DukeNotre Dame
5Oct. 1vs. SyracuseEast Rutherford, New Jersey
6Oct. 8at NC StateRaleigh, North Carolina
7Oct. 15vs. StanfordNotre Dame
9Oct. 29vs. MiamiNotre Dame
10Nov. 5vs. NavyJacksonville, Florida
11Nov. 12vs. ArmySan Antonio
12Nov. 19vs. Virginia TechNotre Dame
13Nov. 26at USCLos Angeles
UND.com

 

The Marquee Opponents

Mark Dantonio
Mark DantonioLM Otero/Associated Press

Notre Dame’s 2016 schedule shapes up similarly to the 2015 rendition. The Irish visit Texas in the opener in the back half of the home-and-home series. Standard matchups with Stanford and USC await, while Notre Dame trades one 2015 playoff team for another with Michigan State—not Clemson—on the early-season docket in 2016. The Irish also have intriguing ACC tilts against storied programs in Miami and Virginia Tech.

The Cardinal check in at No. 8 in ESPN’s early Top 25, one spot ahead of the Irish. The Spartans, who lose quarterback Connor Cook and defensive end Shilique Calhoun, among others, are slotted 14th. The quarterback job is also up for grabs at USC, where Clay Helton will need a replacement for Cody Kessler in his first full season as the head man of the Trojans. USC is pegged 16th.

 

Professional Venues

Torii Hunter Jr. scored a touchdown against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in the 2014 meeting.
Torii Hunter Jr. scored a touchdown against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in the 2014 meeting.Julio Cortez/Associated Press

As is the norm at Notre Dame, the Irish will play in three different NFL stadiums during the 2016 regular season.

Notre Dame and Syracuse clash at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at the beginning of October. The aforementioned Navy-Notre Dame rivalry game kicks off (early) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

And don’t expect much trouble for the Irish in the annual Shamrock Series game, which pits Notre Dame against Army at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

 

News and Notes

Miami head coach Mark Richt
Miami head coach Mark RichtLuis M. Alvarez/Associated Press
Schedule With 2015 Results
Opponent2015 Record
Texas5-7
Nevada7-6
Michigan State12-2
Duke8-5
Syracuse4-8
NC State7-6
Stanford12-2
Miami8-5
Navy11-2
Army2-10
Virginia Tech7-6
USC8-6
ESPN.com

Texas turned in a 5-7 campaign in the first year of the Charlie Strong era, but the Longhorns inked 24 commits—good for the nation’s 11th-best class of 2016.

Former Irish assistant coach Brian Polian spent five seasons in South Bend under Charlie Weis and will direct his Nevada club into Indiana in Week 2.

Duke, meanwhile, announced Tuesday morning that redshirt senior quarterback Thomas Sirk suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will be out indefinitely following surgery that was scheduled Wednesday. Sirk completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,625 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with a team-best 803 rushing yards and eight scores in 2015.

Dino Babers (Syracuse), Mark Richt (Miami), Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech) and Clay Helton (USC) will all be in their first full seasons as head coaches of their respective programs.

 

All quotes were obtained firsthand and all stats courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted.

Mike Monaco is the lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.