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Notre Dame Football’s dominance over the ACC makes 2023 schedule look uninspiring

You can still be pretty excited for Ohio State and USC though...

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Notre Dame’s full 2023 schedule was released the other day, so now we can really start scrutinizing the lineup coming up this season. The Irish have been involved with a football scheduling deal with the ACC since the 2014 season, so 2023 will be the tenth year of this arrangement — and we need to talk about a few things.

The 2023 season has six ACC games for Notre Dame:

The arrangement between Notre Dame and the ACC calls for five games a season — but that’s more like the average. Notre Dame played four ACC games in 2014 and then six in 2015. The Irish joined the ACC for a one pandemic year deal in 2020, and played 9 games. Notre Dame played just the four games in 2022 — so now they have six scheduled for 2023.

Get all that?

One of the more common themes that have emerged from Notre Dame fans after the 2023 release is that the schedule lacks a serious amount of “exciting” from top to bottom. While we can certainly debate that point, it’s because of Notre Dame’s deal with the ACC that we are even talking about this. Those six ACC games aren’t naturally exciting as a group.

One of the reasons Notre Dame fans feel like this schedule is pretty trashy is because of Notre Dame’s dominance over the ACC for almost a decade. Since 2014, Notre Dame is 41-7 against its regular season ACC foes. Since 2018, Notre Dame is a perfect 28-0.

Florida State v Notre Dame Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The seven total ACC losses over the past 9 years come from seven different schools. The only real challenge comes from Clemson as the Irish are 2-1 against the Tigers in the regular season, but 0-2 in the postseason (2018 CFB Playoffs & 2020 ACC Championship Game).

But the ACC isn’t fully to blame for the lack of sexiness when it comes to the 2023 schedule. As always, the game against the Navy Midshipmen is there to mean absolutely nothing to the 2023 season. If you’re one of the 30,000 (estimate) traveling to Dublin for the season-opening game and think that it’s super cool — good for you (your vacation doesn’t mean anything for the rest of the college football season). Throw in early season games against Tennessee State and the Central Michigan Chippewas, and it’s kind of hard to get really excited for the start of the season as far as the competition is concerned.

If you want to throw in the annual game against the Stanford Cardinal as part of the non-sexiness, I understand it — but thanks to a crappy showing last year, there’s at least some vengeance on the menu.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 15 Stanford at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In all honesty, Notre Dame’s most important matchups are the three games against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Clemson Tigers, and USC Trojans — and that’s almost always par for the course. It seems like every season there are just three red-circle games and the rest is filler that we hope is decent enough to make the “tough schedule” argument. You also just have some hope that the other nine games are at least interesting, but that is a tough wish to fill this season with the other nine being 5 ACC schools (again — a conference Notre Dame has absolutely dominated over the last 5 years by the tune to 28-0), Navy, Stanford, FCS Tennessee State, and MACtion.

Maybe if the Duke, WF, and Louisville games were subbed with the Florida State Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes, and Boston College Eagles this would feel a lot different, and instead of being thoroughly uninspired — we would just be touting Notre Dame’s dominance over the ACC with joy.


The hubris in this post is not lost on me after Notre Dame went 9-4 last season with losses to Marshall and Stanford, but it doesn’t change the facts, and it doesn’t make this slate any more exciting if we pretend to be worried about Duke and Pitt and the rest.