Notre Dame football wrapped up what has to be considered a somewhat successful season in 2023 but expectations are on the rise for 2024.
The Irish are bringing in the No. 10 recruiting class in the country along with eight high-impact transfers who could have an immediate impact and should make up for the departing stars this fall -- looking at you, Sam Hartman. Also, Steve Angeli is going to have to prove himself once again with Riley Leonard coming to town.
With the season officially over, let's see what the way-too-early schedule predictions look like.
1. at Texas A&M (Aug. 31)
This will be an interesting matchup as Texas A&M is entering a new era with Mike Elko taking over. Riley Leonard will get an opportunity to face his former head coach and the Aggies will run out Conner Weigman at quarterback, assuming he's healthy. This will be a tough matchup for the Irish in one of the more hostile environments in college football, so I could see this going to Texas A&M.
I do think Leonard will have a solid game against his former head coach, but the Irish will still be adjusting to life without Sam Hartman and Audric Estime.
Prediction: Loss (0-1)
2. Northern Illinois (Sept. 7)
Returning home for a confidence-boosting game against Northern Illinois, the Irish might start slowly and then pick up steam by the end of the game to run away with a four-touchdown victory.
Not only is Leonard going to play well in this game, but we'll see some Steve Angeli at the end as he throws a touchdown pass and keeps himself in contention for the starting job in 2025 and beyond.
Prediction: Win (1-1)