The topic comes up every football season, a team from outside the spectrum of what is considered powerhouses rises to the top of the polls. When this occurs, fans ultimately get around to this topic, "What would (insert team here) do against the Irish?"
While most of the teams listed in this article are no strangers to the top of the polls, the question still comes up every year. What teams would Notre Dame fans like to see on future Irish schedules?
When Tulsa left South Bend with a victory over the Fighting Irish last season, Irish fans were stunned and upset. It was the first time that Notre Dame had lost to a current Conference USA team since the Irish lost to SMU (then a member of the Southwest Conference) in the 1984 Aloha Bowl.
While the Irish might have won had the final four minutes been played a bit differently, fans seem to forget that Tulsa was a very good team in 2010. Finishing with a 10-3 record and ranked 24th in the AP polls, Tulsa was not supposed to be a pushover. With the fifth ranked offense in the nation, Tulsa simply out played the Irish.
Looking at the Notre Dame schedules through 2016, Tulsa does not make another appearance. In hindsight, a rematch in 2011 would have given Irish fans a better gauge on the progress of Notre Dame in the second year under Coach Kelly.
The argument that Boise State is a flash-in-the-pan, one-hit-wonder is played out. Year in and year out, coach Chris Peterson simply wins football games. Since joining the WAC in 2001, the Broncos have won the conference eight times and only lost three games in the conference in that time period.
Boise State is scheduled to join the Mountain West Conference effective July 1st and kicks off their season in a non-conference matchup against Georgia.
Imagine if Notre Dame had scheduled Boise State as the season opener instead of USF, some questions would have been answered.
The Notre Dame versus Nebraska rivalry dates back to 1915 and ended in 1925, that time period saw some battles that went down in history.
The rivalry resumed briefly, as the two teams met in '47 and '48. These were the last two regular season meetings until 2001, although the teams squared off in the 1973 Orange Bowl. The 1973 matchup was coach Ara Parseghian's worst defeat at Notre Dame, 40-6.
In recent years, there was a home-and-home series scheduled for the 2000-01 seasons with Nebraska sweeping the series. The Huskers hold an 8-7-1 advantage over the Irish.
With Nebraska joining the Big Ten this season, instead of opening with Chattanooga, why not renew an old rivalry with the Irish?
After Cincinnati's dramatic rise under the direction of Brian Kelly, the Bearcats had a severe letdown season in 2010.
Kelly's departure to South Bend left a sour taste in the mouths of the Bearcats. The large recruiting classes that Kelly brought in, stretching as far south as Louisiana, have shrunk to mostly in-state recruits once again.
While much has been made about playing home games at neutral sites as a recruiting tool, why not play a home and home with Cincinnati. The list of prominent prep schools in that area is no secret.
Give the Bearcats a shot at some revenge and use the game as a recruiting tool at the same time.
The TCU Horned Frogs had the nation's best defense last season and the 12th ranked offense. TUC was 3-0 versus Top 25 opponents and finished second in the nation in both polls with a perfect 13-0 record.
As the landscape of college football shifts and the once powerful Michigan's of the world give way to the Michigan States, it is time to recognize the TCU's of the world as powerhouses.
If the Irish want to win a national championship, they must beat the best teams in the nation. The fact is that some of the best teams in the country are not the same teams that rules the 70s and 80s.
Kentucky? Kentucky? In your best Jim Mora imitation. Hear me out.
Playing the Wildcats serves a few purposes. Brian Kelly is hell-bent on beating an SEC team, Kentucky finished 6-7 last season, 2-6 in the SEC.
There are those that say the Irish play too soft of a schedule, although playing the Wildcats does not qualify as bolstering ones schedule, they are an SEC team. An SEC team that although having a losing record finished 23rd in passing offense and 53rd in rushing yards.
Irish fans that feel that Notre Dame plays too hard of a schedule could breathe a little easier if Kentucky replaced a team like Stanford on the schedule; although this couldn't happen any time soon as the Stanford series is booked through 2019.
Much like Nebraska, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame have had a rivalry dating back to 1922. The on-again, off-again series stalled in 1981.
The two teams met again in the opener in 1997, the first game in Notre Dame's new expanded stadium, and again in the 1998 Gator Bowl.
The two opened the season against each other in 2006 and 2007. Notre Dame holds a 27-6-1 advantage over the Yellow Jackets in the series.
Notre Dame first met Penn State in 1913 and played three times in the mid-20s and again in the 1976 Gator Bowl.
It wasn't until 1981 that the series actually solidified, an annual home-and-home series was agreed upon, with Penn State winning six of the first seven. The series is tied at 9-9-1.
The real reason that this series should be renewed though is to send Joe Paterno off with the losses to Notre Dame that he deserves. In a hypocritical fashion, Paterno was extremely critical of Notre Dame signing an exclusive contract with NBC in 1991. Penn State was also an Independent until joining the Big Ten in 1990.Paterno's constant reference to greed is also another hypocrisy by the highest paid state employee in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The series ended after the 1992 season with Penn State claiming that its admittance to the Big Ten made it too difficult to schedule Notre Dame.
The two schools faced off again in 2006-07, splitting.
Renewing this rivalry would be a good parting gift for Paterno, who's school brings in more money a year with their Big Ten television contract than Notre Dame does with NBC.