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

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Notre Dame Football: A Look Ahead at the Irish's 2016 Schedule
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
Week Date Opponent Location
1 Sept. 3 at Texas Austin, Texas
2 Sept. 10 vs. Nevada Notre Dame
3 Sept. 17 vs. Michigan State Notre Dame
4 Sept. 24 vs. Duke Notre Dame
5 Oct. 1 vs. Syracuse East Rutherford, New Jersey
6 Oct. 8 at NC State Raleigh, North Carolina
7 Oct. 15 vs. Stanford Notre Dame
9 Oct. 29 vs. Miami Notre Dame
10 Nov. 5 vs. Navy Jacksonville, Florida
11 Nov. 12 vs. Army San Antonio
12 Nov. 19 vs. Virginia Tech Notre Dame
13 Nov. 26 at USC Los Angeles

The Marquee Opponents

LM Otero/Associated Press
Mark Dantonio

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

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

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

Luis M. Alvarez/Associated Press
Miami head coach Mark Richt
Schedule With 2015 Results
Opponent 2015 Record
Texas 5-7
Nevada 7-6
Michigan State 12-2
Duke 8-5
Syracuse 4-8
NC State 7-6
Stanford 12-2
Miami 8-5
Navy 11-2
Army 2-10
Virginia Tech 7-6
USC 8-6

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 unless otherwise noted.

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

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