Brian Kelly and his Notre Dame squad enjoyed a special 2018 season where they finished the regular season undefeated.
It started with a 24-14 win over Michigan in a rivalry game renewed, and the rest of the season was speckled with games they had to find ways to win – like the 24-16 win over Ball State and a 22-17 win against Vanderbilts in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively – as well as convincing wins like their 56-27 win over a 7-win Wake Forest team, and a 42-13 win over Florida State. Things were rolling pretty well until they ran into a Clemson team that was on a mission for the National Title where they lost in the College Football Playoff to Dabo’s Tigers 30-3.
Looking forward to build on the momentum they had built heading into the 2019 season, the Football Gods must have had a bone to pick with the Irish.
As Irish Illustrated points out, not counting the season opener, SEVEN opponents will be coming off a bye when they meet the Irish.
Throw in the season opener against Louisville, and of the scheduled 12 games, EIGHT teams – New Mexico, Bowling Green, USC, Virginia Tech, Duke, Navy, and Boston College – will have some extra time to prepare for the Fighting Irish. Only two of the other teams on the schedule will be coming off weeks where they played a Power Five program.
Below is a screenshot of their 2019 schedule.
Imagine being the one that had to deliver that news to Brian Kelly.
That’s pretty unreal.
What could that mean from a coaching perspective? Maybe Chip Long and the offensive staff dial up some extra trick plays, or new wrinkles to keep defensive staffs on their heels. Perhaps defensive coordinator Clark Lea and the defensive staff dial up some exotic blitzes, coverages, or schemes to throw a wrench into the opposing offenses plans who have had an extra week to prepare. No one knows for sure at this point, but from a schematic perspective, the Irish could be an interesting study on both sides of the ball in 2019.