Schedule Impact: Notre Dame, Wisconsin at Lambeau & Soldier Fields

News began to circulated two weeks ago that Notre Dame and Wisconsin were working on a series to play at Soldier Field and Lambeau Field sometime in the future.  Those talks accelerated and the two announced on Monday official details for the series.  Wisconsin will “host” the Irish at Lambeau Field in 2020 while Notre Dame will return the favor at Soldier Field in 2021.

2020 Schedule Full … And Challenging

Notre Dame’s 2020 schedule only had one opening prior to the announcement on Monday.  We now know that open spot will be filled with the Irish heading to Lambeau Field and we know the game will be October 3, 2020.   We also now know that the game at Lambeau will be considered a Notre Dame “home” game and be broadcast on NBC.

With Wisconsin on the schedule in 2020, the Irish will now face the Badgers in addition to Clemson, USC, Stanford, Louisville, Georgia Tech, and the recently announced game with Arkansas.  That has the potential to be one hell of a gauntlet for Notre Dame to navigate on any potential playoff run.  Wisconsin, Tech, Louisville, Pitt, and Arkansas are all the kind of teams that have the potential to be ranked in any given season.  Add in Clemson, Stanford, and USC who have all been consistently top 10 teams over the last few years and depending on how things fall, that has the looks of a pretty challenging set of games.

What Notre Dame does not have a whole lot of in 2020 now are “easier” games.  Purdue, Duke, Navy, and Wake Forest have the appearance of easier games, but two of those four just upset Notre Dame last year and who knows with Jeff Brohm might be able to do at Purdue by 2020.

The timing of this game also isn’t exactly the most ideal for Notre Dame.  A week after taking on the Badgers, Notre Dame will return home to host Stanford.  That is back to back games with big, physical teams without much time in between to heal up.  Hopefully by then Notre

A lot can change between now and 2020, but the schedule Notre Dame has built can’t really be complained about by any Irish fan.  Well, I’m sure some will still complain that not every game is a marquee game worthy of a flight and hotel costs, but any reasonable fan can’t look at that schedule and complain it lacks enough marquee games.

2021 Schedule Isn’t a Walk in the Park Either

Notre Dame only had two open spots in 2021 before today’s announcement.  Wisconsin and Notre Dame will square off at Soldier Field on September 25th – a week after hosting Purdue and one week before traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies.  This one will be an away game for Notre Dame with the game being broadcast on either FOX or ABC in accordance with the Big 10 broadcast rights.

This one is placed in the schedule a little more manageably nestled in between the Boilers and Hokies, but the 2021 schedule is not short on marquee games.  In addition to Wisconsin, Notre Dame also travels to Florida State (9/6) and Stanford (11/27) and hosts USC in mid October in addition to Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia.  Right now, only Toledo and Navy would be classified as likely “easy” games.

I’ve said it many times before, but the issue that could arise is there are a lot of teams on the 2021 schedule that could be a really good team in any given year but are also not perennial contenders which makes it possible that Notre Dame could face a murderer’s row of a schedule or it could ease up like it did in 2012 when Michigan and USC both had down years.  This is a common concern for Notre Dame schedules, but is also what makes Notre Dame’s schedules great most years.

With one open date left, don’t look for another marquee game to be added.  I know some don’t like to hear that but with Florida State, Stanford, USC, and Wisconsin all on the schedule, Notre Dame could easily schedule themselves out of playoff contention even with a really good team if they added another elite opponent.

Right now, Notre Dame’s schedules in both seasons are set up pretty well to give Notre Dame a chance to be in playoff contention if they take care of business.  Both feature a good mix of marquee opponents, solid Power 5 opponents, and very few cupcakes.

Notre Dame Used to NFL Stadiums

Notre Dame will have played a game in NFL stadium for the 10th straight season later this year when they travel to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami to face the Hurricanes.  Next year’s trip to Coliseum to take on USC will make it 11 years in a row now that the Los Angeles Rams will play their home games there until there stadium is ready.

Baring moving a game to NFL venue in 2019, that streak could end before Notre Dame’s first trip to Lambeau Field in 2020.  There are not any open dates in 2019 with away games scheduled at Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, Duke, and Stanford.  A home game could be moved potentially to a NFL venue still for a Shamrock Series game but that home slate in 2019 doesn’t look all that appealing right now in terms of marquee games.

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  1. I should hope it is a Notre Dame home game!

    Curly Lambeau was a Notre Dame alumnus.

    They named the field after him. ND never loses on a field named after a Notre Dame alum. And you can look it up!

    Further, their greatest coach was Lomardi. He learned offensive line play and the fundamentals of the Packer Power Sweep (“a seal here, a seal there….”) from Frnak Leahy who coached the Seven Blocks of Granite.

    Further, Notre Dame Heisman winner Paul Hornung did more for the Packers than any Wisconsin alum.

    Badger that!

  2. I guess we are going to find out if Colin Cowherd is right. He says Wisconsin is a better program than ND.

    I hope the Irish shut him up

    1. They were a better program recently (up until now) by comparison of their weight training and conditioning programs to ours. Theirs was far superior to ours in the past few years. That problem has been fixed (or so I hear…we’ll know in two weeks for sure). Weight training and conditioning are crucial for programs like Wisconsin and ND…we’ve been AWOL on it while they’ve just plain been “on it” and it showed, even in games Wisconsin lost, often close against more powerful teams, not just in the ones they won! Lord knows it showed in games we lost, often against conference doormats!

      Hopefully, we’ve kind of been like Superman in that movie…”I’m sorry, I’ve been away for awhile…but now I’m back”! I hear that will be true for Nyles and McGinchey, amongst others.

      Bruce. G. Curme ’77 ’82

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