It’s a new day for Notre Dame, which had to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to become head coach after Brian Kelly bolted for LSU.
But so far, the returns have been good, especially on the recruiting trail as the Fighting Irish have consistently ranked first or second in 2023 so far.
What awaits the Irish on the field for the 2022 football season?
The ESPN football power index prediction machine crunches the numbers for what to expect in each game of Notre Dame’s upcoming season.
Game 1 at Ohio State. As tough an opener as you could ask for, lining up against No. 1 offense in college football, but the Buckeyes may have some holes to open in the secondary, where the Irish could make things interesting. The chance to win FPI: 16.5%
Game 2 against Marshall. It was a solid 7-win team a year ago, but also lost its starting quarterback, after Grant Wells transferred to Virginia Tech. A chance for the Irish to make a statement in the home opener. The chance to win FPI: 90.8%
Game 3 vs. Cal. This defense was pretty solid in the Pac-12 last fall, but lost a ton of its front seven unit and has big inputs to choose from at quarterback and wide receiver. Home advantage for Notre Dame going into the meatier side of this schedule. The chance to win FPI: 94.1%
Game 4 at North Carolina. Four O-line starters are gone, as is star quarterback Sam Howell, but the Tar Heels have one of the top receiver rooms in college football and have recruited a good defensive back, with Gene Chizik coaching the that unit. The chance to win FPI: 56.7%
Game 5 against BYU. A great 10-win team last season, the Cougars return quarterback Jaren Hall, their top two receivers, most of their offensive line, and almost all of their defense. But not Tyler Allgeier, who accounted for 43% of BYU’s touchdowns a year ago. The chance to win FPI: 81.6%
Game 6 against Stanford. Don’t expect much from the Cardinal offense, which posted some of the worst marks in the Pac-12 a year ago, but returns 10 starters, including quarterback Tanner McKee, who had some positives times last season. The chance to win FPI: 92.8%
Game 7 against UNLV. The Rebels have won just two games over the last two seasons and are one of the worst programs in the FBS right now. Perfect for a midseason breather as Notre Dame recovers from a tough first half of the season and prepares for an equally tough second half in November. The chance to win FPI: 98.3%
Game 8 at Syracuse. It was the fourth-worst total offense in the ACC and amassed less than 150 yards per game in the conference, a trend that resulted in the Orange winning just 15 games in 50 league games under Dino Babers. The chance to win FPI: 83.4%
Game 9 against Clemson. The last time these teams met in front of Touchdown Jesus, the Irish knocked off No. 1 Tigers. We’ll see if Clemson gets back to its usual self this year after a three-loss outing in 2021 including defensive injuries and a subpar year from quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. The chance to win FPI: 40.0%
Game 10 against Navy. Notre Dame has won nine of the last 10 in this old rivalry, but don’t count out the Midshipmen. The triple-option is always difficult to defend, and this game came with the Irish hosting Clemson. This can be a trap if Domers are not careful. The chance to win FPI: 95.7%
Game 11 against Boston College. BC gets more than a half-dozen starters back on defense, a unit that ranks No. 4 in the ACC in 2021, and significantly returns quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Notre Dame has won the last eight of the Holy War and scored at least 40 points in each of the last three. The chance to win FPI: 91.5%
Game 12 at USC. The sexy pick of the college football offseason, USC brings in a lot of talent this year after bringing in head coach and offensive guru Lincoln Riley. We’ll find out in November if he’s able to put it together, but one thing we know now is that this offense needs to shift into another gear, led by 5-star quarterback Caleb Williams and Biletnikoff. receiver Jordan Addison, who led the nation with 17 touchdown catches last season. The chance to win FPI: 66.4%
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