The 2012 Notre Dame Fighting Irish college football team did its part to help bring the program back up to relevance on the national scene. For years, the program suffered through abysmal performances under Charlie Weis and Brian Kelly has slowly been gaining steam within the program. The 2013 team is ranked as the eighth best school in the nation by Sports Illustrated. Let’s look back at the 2012 team and look ahead towards several key 2013 matchups.
The 2012 Fighting Irish finished the season with a 12-1 record, with the lone loss coming in the BCS National Championship game against Alabama. The team never had a chance against the Crimson Tide, but despite the loss, still garnered plenty of respect from football pundits. The team didn’t excel offensively throughout the year, but had the second best defensive unit in the sport led by Manti Te’o, allowing just 12.8 points per game. Notre Dame was badmouthed all season, but still picked up big wins over major programs including Oklahoma, Michigan and Stanford.
Key 2013 Games
In the fourth season of the Kelly regime, the Fighting Irish have an excellent schedule planned with games against several top 25 teams. What are some of their biggest games to look forward to?
- Saturday, September 7 – @ Michigan (Final Score: Notre Dame 30 – Michigan Wolverines 41)
Notre Dame and Michigan always seem to have entertaining battles and this game will be the second on the schedule for the Irish this season. Last season, the Irish won 13-6 in South Bend, but will have to travel to Ann Arbor for this key matchup.
- Saturday, October 19 – vs. USC
Another regular opponent for the Irish are the Trojans of USC. These two teams met in the finale of the 2012 regular season and Irish pulled out another close victory to maintain their perfect regular season mark. When these two teams battle in South Bend, Notre Dame will be hoping to extend their all-time lead in this rivalry.
Other Games of Note:
Saturday, November 9 – @ Pittsburgh
Saturday, November 30 – @ Stanford
The 2013 Fighting Irish have great hopes for the upcoming season and these are just some of the key battles that Tommy Rees, George Atkinson III, Jaylon Smith and the rest of the team will need to work hard at winning.