2017 Notre Dame Football Schedule: The Trap Games

When perusing the 2017 Notre Dame football schedule, the tendency for some Irish fans may be to look at the 12 regular seasons games and take for granted that some games are already in the win column. However, the danger of trap games that any good team faces might make the idea of looking past one contest might

Any team or fan base coming off a miserable 4-8 campaign likely doesn’t have the luxury of making such a limited effort when it comes to gauging how such contests will turn out. In reality, all of the games during the 2017 might be considered trap games for Notre Dame, at least until they’re able to show a clear semblance of improvement.

Listed below are three games in which the the Irish’s opponent might be able to deliver a sucker punch because of inattention on the part of Notre Dame.

Boston College (September 16)

The Irish have won the last five times these two teams have met, including the last three times they’ve made the trip to Beantown. Since the arrival of Brian Kelly to South Bend in 2010, the Eagles have either been mediocre or just plain bad, which explains why Kelly has a 4-0 record against them.

However, Boston College won its last three games of the 2016 season, including a bowl matchup against Maryland. Fifth-year head coach Steve Addazio has changed the team’s culture for the better and will no doubt have his team amped up to spring an upset.

The Irish will be coming off two home games to start the season, including a top 25 team in Georgia the week before. After BC, a date in East Lansing the following week against the Michigan State Spartans is on the agenda. Looking ahead or nursing wounds from a tough battle in this case might be a lethal mistake.

North Carolina (October 7)

Notre Dame heads to Chapel Hill for the first time since 2008, hoping to reverse the defeat in that matchup that’s been the lone loss to the Tar Heels in their last eight meetings. North Carolina enters the 2017 season in rebuilding mode after seeing most of the major parts of their offense depart from an 8-5 squad. They’re also installing a new defensive coordinator.

The situation with the Irish in this case is that they’ll be coming off a home game with Miami of Ohio and facing a bye week after they face the Tar Heels. With the USC Trojans set to hit South Bend one week later, the Notre Dame mindset could be already in prep mode for Southern Cal.

While North Carolina might be set for a tumble in the standings this season, a win against the Irish could soothe some of that pain, which means staying focused in unfriendly surroundings is once again a priority for Brian Kelly and company.

North Carolina State (October 28)

The Wolfpack make their first-ever trip to South Bend, having won last season’s contest between the two teams by a 10-3 score. The monsoon-like conditions resulted in minimal offense, with the only touchdown of the game coming off of a blocked punt, though other self-inflicted wounds on the part of the Irish didn’t help.

While revenge will be in the air for Brian Kelly’s squad, reaching that peak focus for a second straight week may be difficult after having taken on Southern Cal the week before. In contrast, North Carolina State will be fully rested after coming off their bye week. Bringing back a veteran team that nearly upset national champion Clemson last year means that they’ll be ready for what Notre Dame is set to dish out.

The Heart of the Matter

It’s conceivable that the week after the Irish face the Wolfpack might end up being yet another potential trap game. That’s because Wake Forest travels to the Golden Dome and brings a young squad with them. The reason for Notre Dame potentially overlooking this opponent stems from their trip the following week to take on the Miami Hurricanes.

However, as previously noted, the Irish are really in no position to be overlooking any opponent, good or bad. Losses in any of the above contests, especially against Boston College, could begin to grease the skids for Brian Kelly. His eighth season needs to be a rebound effort and needless stumbles along the way won’t accomplish that task.

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  1. The story is told that during the Charlie Weis era ND came to Boston to play BC.

    In the locker room prior to the game the BC Coach asked “How many of you were recruited by Notre Dame?”

    Not a hand was raised, the final score was 17-0 BC.



  2. Irish need/have to come out with a fast start , momentum in September. To avoid a mediocre 8-4 , 9-3 or worst season– Irish need to be undefeated going into the North Carolina October7th. All opponents are dangerous, but 2 losses in September will turn this season into an up hill climb. Winning seasons of past Irish lore — means beating the big boys, like Michigan State , USC , Stanford , Michigan , Georgia , Oklahoma , U of Miami on their schedule.

  3. Boston College is getting about 15 starters back from a team that won a minor bowl. They sometimes look at us as their main rival, making it a red circle rivalry game to them…but to us, they are more like MSU…a regular game only – but one to watch out for…but hardly a high charged emotional situation for us.

    I think of all the teams named in your piece, BC is by far the most likely to jump up and bite us.

    Plus, we hit them right after (hopefully) an emotional win over Georgia…remember what happened when we played them right after an emotional win over Florida State…and that was in our own house…this one is in theirs. I see a bad moon rising!

    Bruce G. Curme
    La Crosse, Indiana

  4. Very good article. I’m essentially prepping for this season with the assumption that every game is a trap game for Notre Dame. Hopefully Kelly and Co. do likewise.

    1. I am with Mr. Joad on this one. Coming off a 4-8 season means every game is a trap game. It seems to me that preparation by the coaching staff is the essential ingredient here. Will the coaching staff’s weekly game prep regimen be instilled into the mindset of the players, i.e., one game at a time. Keeping my fingers crossed.

      Go Irish!!!@

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