First let's start with the more immediate news as Notre Dame has released the kickoff times for all of the upcoming homes games this fall. There will be two night games slated for 7:30 PM ET against Michigan State and Stanford.
The games against Nevada, Duke, Miami, Army, and Virginia Tech will all begin at 3:30 PM ET. This includes the 2016 Shamrock Series game in San Antonio against Army. Also, every home game will be broadcast live on NBC.
Notre Dame also announced the full 2017 schedule today:
Sept. 2nd vs. Temple
Sept. 9th vs. Georgia
Sept. 16th @Boston College
Sept. 23rd @Michigan State
Sept. 30th vs. Miami (Ohio)
Oct. 7th @North Carolina
Oct. 14th BYE WEEK
Oct. 21st vs. USC
Oct. 28th vs. NC State
Nov. 4th vs. Wake Forest
Nov. 11th @Miami
Nov. 18th vs. Navy
Nov. 25th @Stanford
The first thing that jumps out to me is the balance. Is this the best constructed Notre Dame schedule in recent memory in terms of balancing the varying degrees of difficult opponents? Almost the entire schedule alternates on a weaker to stronger back to weaker basis. Very well laid out.
The Irish are going to have a long, long time to get ready for USC. If the team can start 6-0 that's going to be a mega large recruiting weekend. It might be despite the team record.
I don't love the slotting of Navy at the end of the year sandwiched in between what could be two of the toughest games of the season. That's just asking for trouble from the Middies.
You will note that there will be no neutral site Shamrock Series game for 2017. The program has decided to skip it for this year at least and will play an extra home game inside the newly renovated Crossroads Project within Notre Dame Stadium set to open next fall.