The Year 2012 and Notre Dame's Apocalyptic Schedule
Forget all those ancient Mayan doomsday prophesies and concerns over geomagnetic reversal. Worry not about an asteroid strike or flu pandemic threatening the survival of human beings on planet earth.
However, the world might explode in the fall of 2012 because of the astonishing and mind-blowing awesomeness of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish schedule set to begin on September 1st of that year.
Mark that date down on your calendar, iPhone or whatever it is people are using nowadays to remember dates in the future.
Before we go any further, let’s just throw the schedule out there so you can let it sink in as quickly as possible.
I would advise that no small children look at this, that you do not have an empty stomach and that there are no objects around with which can cause you bodily harm. It’s also preferable if you’re not under the heavy influence of any alcohol or drugs.
Now, here’s the apocalyptic juggernaut set to put the college football world to shame.
Sept. 1- Navy (Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 8 -PURDUE
Sept. 15- Michigan State
Sept. 22- MICHIGAN
Sept. 29- Open
Oct. 6- Miami (Soldier Field)
Oct. 13- Boston College
Oct. 20- PITTSBURGH
Oct. 27- Oklahoma
Nov. 3- Open
Nov. 10- Open
Nov. 17- WAKE FOREST
Nov. 24- Southern Cal
^Home games in CAPS.
With only ten games tentatively scheduled so far, this is automatically the number one schedule in the nation for 2012.
It will not be seriously challenged.
Sorry, SEC fans.
A while ago I mentioned in my article on the myths surrounding Notre Dame schedules that we may not see another collection of games like the 2003 Irish slate that ended up ranked the most difficult in the nation that season.
I may be wrong about that.
In terms of potential, this upcoming 2012 schedule surpasses the 2003 version and could turn into something truly epic.
Still, the 2003 schedule did have five ranked teams, one shared national championship, one Pac-Ten champion, one Big Ten champion, one ACC champion, one second place Pac-Ten and one third place Big Ten team.
That year saw the following teams put up an insane 97-55 (.638) record:
USC, Michigan, Florida State, Washington State, Purdue, Pitt, Michigan State, Navy, Boston College, Syracuse, Stanford, BYU.
As if those numbers weren’t good enough, that schedule featured four teams that won ten or more games and an absurd nine teams that won eight or more games.
That is tough to beat.
But the 2012 schedule may do just that.
For all of those Notre Dame fans who have complained incessantly about the weak scheduling and lack of high profile opponents, here is exactly what you’ve been asking for.
The major positive about this schedule is the toughness (obviously), but also its uniqueness and balance.
The season opening contest in Ireland against Navy has been highly anticipated by thousands of fans and could turn into one heck of a match up if Navy continues its success and Kelly has the Irish headed for big things.
It certainly doesn’t appear to be the blowout that the 1996 meeting in Ireland was between these two programs.
It is a little alarming that Notre Dame’s next game is only a week after taking this trans-Atlantic voyage to the Emerald Isle, but the Irish are lucky to face a manageable opponent in Purdue.
Following the home opener, the Irish run through their usual Big Ten opponents making a trip to East Lansing before hosting Michigan back in South Bend.
In any other year, the first quarter of the schedule would not be noteworthy or reason to get too excited, but the opening rumble in Dublin gives the early part of the schedule some attractiveness.
The fifth weekend of September is currently open but it seems likely that a home contest will be added there sometime in the future. Given the potency of the rest of the schedule, you couldn’t really blame Jack Swarbrick for scheduling a soft team.
Still, fans would at least like to see an opponent with some clout, especially if it does become a home game.
Perhaps a program like NC State or Arizona would be a good fit, or if we’re really feeling frisky, how about North Carolina?
Following whoever fills the first open spot is an October that looks positively frightening or thrilling, depending on your perspective.
The month begins with the recently announced neutral field tilt at Soldier Field against the Miami Hurricanes in what will be the first meeting between the schools in 22 years.
There may be some seriously devoted fans ready to donate organs and sell their house in order to get tickets to this blockbuster match up.
The following week is currently open, but I have put the Boston College game in this slot, although it may be the week before Miami or the second week of November.
It’s a tough call no matter which way you look at it.
Ideally, the Eagles would be scheduled in late September, but that means the Irish would have to deal with a tough road game the week before their scrap with Miami and then face a brutal October as well.
It’s either that or face Boston College in the thick of a demanding October or travel to Chestnut Hill in chilly November.
Neither option seems particularly appealing.
The second half of October sees the Irish hosting the always tough Pitt Panthers while finishing up the season with a long overdue trip to Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners.
Apparently the Oklahoma series is not set in stone just yet, but it appears the series will indeed be played. With Oklahoma on the schedule, that means Notre Dame will be playing the first, fifth, seventh and fourteenth most winning programs of all-time.
Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Multiple sources lead me to believe that the first week of November will be Notre Dame’s bye week, which will leave another open week on the 10th of that month with senior day against Wake Forest and the bi-annual trip to USC wrapping up the schedule.
There’s Always Bad with the Good
With such an amazing schedule ready to take place in a couple years, what possibly is there to frown upon?
Well, this is going to be a schedule from the depths of hell.
I know there are some folks out there who think Notre Dame should play a schedule like this and lament that this was the kind of schedule that the Irish always played.
The latter opinion is pretty debatable, but let me say that I think a schedule like this should be played once every four to seven years.
It’s nice to gloat about having such an incredibly tough and respectable schedule, but it’s really not doing the program any favors if this was something to be faced every year.
I’m also very curious to see how the voices who constantly claim Notre Dame plays a weak schedule will react to this 2012 masterpiece.
The first reaction from this crowd will be to focus on Purdue and Wake Forest as weak opponents that anyone can beat. Once that fallacy falls apart, we will be hearing the endless claim that Notre Dame won’t win more than four games with this schedule.
Get ready for it Irish fans.
The other big issue is a lack of high-profile home games which has been plaguing the Irish schedule for years.
Purdue, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest form a solid core of teams set to play inside Notre Dame Stadium, but it isn’t much different than what fans have been seeing in the past.
Then again, it could be worse.
Irish fans could be subjected the mind-numbing sleeping pill that is Texas’ home schedule for 2010: Wyoming, UCLA, Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M.
The Longhorns might have one top 40 come to Austin this year!
Not to pick on Texas or anything, especially after this off-season where the Longhorns played a big part in allowing Notre Dame to stay independent, but it must be nice to know you have a 99.86 percent chance of going undefeated at home heading into 2010.
At any rate, having two neutral field games hampers the scheduling process for Jack Swarbrick and even with two games still to be determined, I’m not sure it’s a great idea to schedule one more high profile home game.
Have you seen the rest of the schedule?
Like I said, the best we can probably hope for are a couple middle of the road BCS teams that at least offer some history, tradition and a solid fan base.
Nonetheless, Swarbrick could easily schedule two garbage teams to fill out this schedule and it will still be the toughest in the nation for 2012.
Brian Kelly will be in his third year as coach of Notre Dame which is a perfect time to face a schedule like this. Depending on how the next couple seasons go, the Irish could be expecting big things in 2012 and that would only add to the glamour of such a tough schedule.
It remains to be seen if Notre Dame can get back to an elite level by that time, but I do know that Jeff Sagarin may have to consult those ancient Mayan prophesies in order to come up with a formula that can measure this incredible Notre Dame 2012 schedule.
This article was originally published at One Foot Down.
One Foot Down: All Things College Football
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