Pre-spring 2024 game-by-game predictions for Notre Dame football

Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman at Notre Dame spring football practice Thursday, March 7, 2024,
Notre Dame Head Coach Marcus Freeman at Notre Dame spring football practice Thursday, March 7, 2024, / GREG SWIERCZ / USA TODAY NETWORK
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A successful year two of the Marcus Freeman era is in the books for Notre Dame football and now the program can focus on contending for the playoff in the year in which the field expands to 12 teams.

The Irish will be one of the top teams in college football this upcoming season despite Sam Hartman moving on and that's because Freeman went out and snagged one of the top transfer quarterbacks for a second straight year. This time, he landed Duke star Riley Leonard.

Expectations are rising and before we watch the Irish perform this spring, let's dive into some game-by-game predictions for 2024.

1. at Texas A&M (Aug. 31)

The first game of the season will be an interesting one for one particular Notre Dame player as Riley Leonard will get to face his former head coach who was the reason he entered the transfer portal. No, I don't believe there's any bad blood between Leonard and Mike Elko, but it's still going to be an emotional game for the veteran quarterback.

On top of that, Elko used to be Notre Dame's defensive coordinator before leaving to join Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M prior to him becoming the head coach at Duke.

I think this game will be a back-and-forth affair and even though Texas A&M may be rebuilding a bit this season, winning in College Station is not easy and Notre Dame will be rattled in the first game with Leonard at quarterback. It'll be close, but the Aggies pull off the upset.

Prediction: Loss (0-1)

2. Northern Illinois (Sept. 7)

This is the perfect opportunity to bounce back after losing the opening game of the season on the road to a pesky Texas A&M team that finally has good coaching. The Irish will record a big win here in Week 2 to even their record at 1-1 and Leonard will throw for over 300 yards and three scores.

Prediction: Win (1-1)