Notre Dame released the official schedules for the 2017-2019 seasons on Thursday (we’ll get all three added to the main nav over the weekend) and the Irish will once again have two prime-time games in Notre Dame Stadium in 2017. This year Georgia and arch-rival will visit Notre Dame for prime-time showdowns in two games that will likely be among the toughest tickets of the season. Start time for both games is 7:30 PM ET.
For the third season in a row, the Irish will host two premiere opponents under the lights in the House that Rock Built. In 20115 Notre Dame hosted by Texas and USC for night games. Last year it was Michigan State and Stanford having the honors. This year Irish fans will be treated to the Bulldogs and Trojans.
With Notre-Dame USC back in prime-time, it will be the fourth straight time the Trojans and Irish square off in prime-time when the USC comes to town. When USC visited Notre Dame in 2011 for a prime-time showdown it was the first time Notre Dame hosted a night game in Rock’s House since the 1988 visit from Michigan. Since then, Notre Dame has had at least one night home game every season.
Notre Dame will have a bye this year before USC’s October 21 visit. They face North Carolina in Chapel Hill on October 7. USC’s last trip to South Bend was the first game for then interim head coach Clay Helton. Helton ditched the interim tag last year before a turnaround season for the Trojans that ended in a Rose Bowl win over Penn State.
That turnaround included a 45-27 beating of Notre Dame in the regular season finale, but the two schools have alternated wins the last four years and Notre Dame hasn’t lost at home to USC since 2011.
Georgia’s First Visit to Notre Dame
Georgia will be making their first ever trip to Notre Dame on September 9th for what will also be the first ever regular season meeting between the two storied programs. The only prior meeting between the two came in the 1981 Sugar Bowl when the Bulldogs beat the Irish 17-10 to secure the national championship.
Notre Dame and Georgia will both be playing their second games of the season when the Bulldogs come to town. Georgia opens their season at home against Appalachian State while Notre Dame will host Temple the week before in their season opener.
This is the first game of a home and home between the two schools. Notre Dame will travel to Athens in 2019.
Georgia will be a very early season barometer for the Irish. Temple will not be a pushover by any means for the Notre Dame after another successful season from the Owls in 2016, but the Georgia contest will be a true test of how improved the Irish will be in 2017. And yes, I am assuming that they can only improve on last year as I do not want to even consider the alternative.
Mixed Success in Home Night Games
Since reintroducing night games to the home schedule in 2011, Notre Dame is 5-3 in such contests. Prior to last season Notre Dame was 5-1 with the lone loss coming in that 2011 USC game. The Irish fell, however, to both Michigan State and Stanford during last year’s dreadful campaign.