Clemson and Wisconsin Headline 2020 Notre Dame Football Schedule

Brian Kelly and the Irish will face several ranked opponents, across multiple conferences, and travel to stadiums throughout the country in 2020. A few key matchups define each season, and this year is no different. Two marquee games on the 2020 Notre Dame schedule will likely define the season.  In October, Notre Dame will travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Badgers. The following month the Clemson Tigers, who are on the verge of a dynasty, will travel to South Bend.

Wisconsin Badgers

  • Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Game Time: Saturday, October 3rd Time TBA
  • Series History: Notre Dame is 8-6-2 all-time against Wisconsin (Last Meeting 1964: Notre Dame won 31-7)

Storylines

Irish finally visit Lambeau Field. It only fits that the Fighting Irish get to play in a stadium named after former Notre Dame standout Curly Lambeau. The Irish star played under legendary coach Knute Rockne and was a Packer icon. Sports fans across the country view Lambeau Field and Notre Dame Stadium as two of the most significant venues in all of sports.

Now, the college program that helped shape the Packers will ultimately get to call Lambeau Field home for one autumn night.

Wisconsin brings an edge. The Badgers had a fantastic season in 2019, which was capsulated by appearances in the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl. Although they did not win, the Badgers were in both contests. Let us not forget Wisconsin did beat Michigan by 21-points. Under different circumstances, but the same opponent that knocked the Irish out of Playoff contention.

Resumé Builder for Irish. Besides the Clemson matchup, this will be the biggest game on Notre Dame’s schedule. If the Irish can make it past the Badgers, they will have a strong chance of being undefeated for the battle against Dabo Swinney’s Tigers.

Clemson Tigers

  • Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Game Time: Saturday, November 7th Time TBA
  • Series History: Notre Dame is 1-3 all-time against Clemson (Last Meeting 2018: Clemson won 30-3)

Storylines

#1 visiting South Bend? This will be the biggest game at Notre Dame Stadium since the #1 USC Trojans visited in 2005 with Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush. The Georgia Bulldogs did come to South Bend in2017, the year they went to the National Championship Game, but they were only ranked #15 at the time, and no one was certain on just how great both teams were.

Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne lead Clemson Tigers. Dabo Swinney’s team has made the College Football Playoffs five straight years and have won two of the past four national championships. LSU may have won the national title, but the Clemson Tigers have been the standard of success the past five seasons.

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Game of the Century? It’s been a while since the Irish were a part of a “Game of The Century,” but this clash has that possibility. Since the birth of the College Football Playoffs, games like this are few and far between. How big is the hype surrounding this matchup? Notre Dame fans were talking about this game last fall, over a year before the game is set to be played.

Irish visit 5 NFL Stadiums

Bank of America Stadium

  • The Irish will face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the home of the Carolina Panthers this September. Brian Kelly and Notre Dame traveled to BT & T Stadium in 2018, the home of the Demon Deacons. Since BT & T Stadium only holds 31,500, this will allow for a broader audience to watch this matchup.

Lambeau Field

  • Home of the Green Bay Packers, Notre Dame will finally travel to Lambeau Field this upcoming season. This game will be one of the top non-conference matchups of the college football season. Two programs that have had a lot of success these past several years.

Heinz Field

  • Since the demolition of Pitt Stadium in 1999, the Pittsburgh Panthers have played their home games away from campus. Pittsburgh is a long-time and common opponent for the Fighting Irish. The last trip to Heinz Field was back in 2015 when the Irish won 42-30, and it was mostly a “split-crowd.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

  • Notre Dame and Georgia Tech will square-off in Atlanta this season. The Irish have only faced the Yellow Jackets once, since their partnership with the ACC. Notre Dame hasn’t played at Bobby Dodd Stadium since the days of Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija back in 2006. Fortunately for the Irish, they will get a motivated Yellow Jackets team at a “neutral-site.”

LA Memorial Stadium

  • This is a bit of a stretch, but an NFL venue, nevertheless. Notre Dame has had great success against the Trojans under Brian Kelly. The Irish have won 3 straight games in this series.

Home of the LA Rams, LA Memorial Stadium, will host an NFL team this final season before the Rams move into SoFi Stadium in 2021.

Playoff Resumé

Loaded schedule awaits. Notre Dame has one of the toughest schedules in the country, with or without a conference championship game. Even though the “experts” will be astonished by Clemson destroying Pittsburgh in 2018 and Virginia in 2019 at the ACC Championship Game. Opponents that Notre Dame faced and beat in each year, respectively.

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Independent Schedule helps Irish. Notre Dame at USC will be the only “on-campus” location the team visits all year. The fanbase will travel all season and make several of these games a 50/50 crowd. Each Fall is unique, but if the Irish go undefeated, they will be in the playoffs, and with this schedule, an 11-1 Notre Dame team would have a strong case at the end of the year.

Final Thoughts

Georgia and Michigan defined 2019. Finishing 11-2 helped cap off a 3-year stretch of 33-wins for the program. However, Notre Dame lost the two biggest games of the season.

Last fall, the Irish faced the Bulldogs and Wolverines on the road. But this year, Notre Dame won’t be playing true road games against Wisconsin and Clemson. The Irish will face the Badgers at a relatively neutral site in Lambeau Field while they will take on the Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium.

The 2020 Notre Dame Football Schedule is full of great matchups and venues. If the Irish want to make it back to the playoffs, they must win at least one of their top matchups against Wisconsin and Clemson. Ian Book, Tommy Rees, and Brian Kelly have the schedule they need in front of them.

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16 Comments

  1. Watching the Championship game, I got an overwhelming feeling that…who are we kidding, we don’t belong on the same field as these two teams? Unfortunately, re: this season, with Kelly still at the helm, Book still his ‘uncertain self” and Rees likely not an offensive ‘genius’, how do we not get humiliated going up against those caliber teams?
    Kelly is Kelly, more bluster than competence, Book has well documented that he tracks his primary target vs the whole field then tucks and runs, and Rees, if he had any unique Offensive insights would have made a case by now. I didn’t see anything new in his maiden game. Does anyone see him bucking Kelly?
    My reasoning is that since Kelly has played it safe both on the field and now off-field, by convincing Book to stay and hiring Rees, a known controllable quantity to sign on, he’s playing for a lack-luster one loss season, hoping for (a) a playoff spot and (b) another extension, next one for 5-6 years.

  2. What is the over/under on ND fans that sell their tickets to Clemson fans for an “Orange Out” in ND stadium? The thought of this is already giving me heartburn. Is it too early to publicly shame these people?

  3. 11-1 should still get the Irish in. Look at Oklahoma. What playoff game did they play that was competitive? The Irish are still a marquee. But they definitely need to win one of these big time games instead of just playing close. 2 close loses to Ga, a close loss to Clemson, a close loss to Florida St. it’s time to close on some of these games. A win against Wisconsin and another close
    Loss against Clemson would be enough. But I’d love to see the Irish beat Clemson at home.

  4. Are you thinking that an 11-1 Notre Dame team with a win over Clemson gets left out when a 12-1 Clemson team gets in? Only if this is to be a repeat of the 1993 season.
    This schedule is a great National Championship schedule, and the team is ready on defense and special teams. On offense we only need the O-line to play like they could (and should) and we will be ready to “win some big games”…something we all want to see.

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. That’s why I won’t say ND can’t get in with 1 loss. There are certain avenues where a 1 loss ND team can get in, but they are fewer then they once were IMO.

      What I’m saying is there was a time I thought a 1 loss team was in more times then not–but I don’t feel that’s the case anymore. ND is not going to get the benefit of the doubt anymore.

      As ChrisJ noted below it didn’t help that ND gets smacked around brutally by most elite teams we face, with Georgia being the only elite team I can recall in recent history that we give a fight to. Most of the time it feels like we don’t even show up.

      Then we get smacked by Michigan this past season, a team that was NOT elite–which just makes it worse.

      ND wants in—beat everyone. There’s be nothing worse then going 11-1 and finding out you’re left out. Don’t put your playoff destiny in someone else’s hands.

      I mean, I’m sure everyone here (well almost everyone–I’m sure we know who I’m talking about) wants to go 12-0 anyway. And we’ll probably have a good feel pretty early on how things will go. I think the defense will continue to grow stronger. The offense is an open question. And honestly I don’t think we’ll even know much after the Blue Gold game. We’ll probably have to wait and see when the real games start next year.

      1. Damien, One annual problem with the Blue Gold game is not having 10 offensive linemen (or anywhere near that number) ready to play great (veterans) to pretty well (new or inexperienced guys). Having 10 would make for a competitive, meaningful QB competition. Well, we’ve just about got that this year, so I think we’ll know a lot after this Blue Gold game, if BK actually runs two different O-lines with IAN and Brendan.
        That’s why I’ll deal with the parking mess and go to this one. It’s been years!

        BGC ’77 ’82

  5. I wouldn’t assume a 1 lost ND team goes to the playoffs, even if the loss is to Wisconsin or Clemson.

    After our beat down by Clemson in the playoff last year the margin of error for ND is extremely small. The committee may say that past years don’t matter but they’re lying. Don’t believe it. If it’s a 1 loss ND team vs a 1 loss conference champion I think they’d leave out ND. I absolutely think our dismal performance against Clemson (combined with the pummeling by Michigan) was the reason ND played a greatly overmatched Iowa State team instead of another team with a similar record at least. I don’t believe for one minute the Clemson game the previous year did not factor in.

    Not saying ND can’t get in with 1 loss, but while at one time I think a 1 loss ND team had a good shot at getting in I no longer believe that’s the case.

    The Irish want in, go 12-0. That’s the only guaranteed in. There are no gimmes for ND.

    1. Until we can show the world we can actually compete and not get absolutely destroyed (which we have against any elite team under Kelly other than GA), then we will be viewed as overrated and won’t get the nod. Past years play into it regardless of what everyone says. You have to show you belong.

    2. Totally agree. Notredame needs to go 12 and 0. 11 and 1 will not get them in over other 1 loss conference teams who win their conference.

    3. It’s nice to see you doing a number on the CFP. Sure is a break in the action from the Kelly/Rees/Book rants—-for the time being. Until the season starts — Ha , biting at the bit for that ain’t ya lad.

  6. Don’t assume that Louisville won’t be ranked when they come here. TO SAM: @0 degrees and sleet would almost make up for the gale strength winds (that were unscrupulously forecast to be 25 mph).

    BGC ’77 ’82

      1. Dementia kicking in again…memory in trash heap sometimes: The gale wing was NC State. Apologies to Clemson: they treated us to a Monsoon.
        A distinction for a Theologian to ponder.
        BGC ’77 ’82

  7. I think they pull out the win against Wisconsin but the Clemson game is worrisome. Of course they get a week off before the game but it is what it is. Hope it’s 20 degrees and sleeting when they play.
    I’ll be hitting up Charlotte and Atl for those games so those will be good weekend getaways.

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