Notre Dame has made it a habit of scheduling games against former assistant coaches who take on head coaching duties elsewhere, most-recently demonstrated in 2017 with a 52-17 victory over Miami (OH) and Chuck Martin, once Brian Kelly’s right-hand man and offensive coordinator.
In a twist on that, Thursday evening the Irish announced a 2021 contest against Cincinnati, Kelly’s last stop before taking over the Notre Dame head coaching duties after the 2009 regular season, one the Bearcats finished undefeated.
The Irish also announced the 2021 season opener will be akin to this year’s, on Labor Day at an ACC opponent, with Florida State standing in for this year’s Louisville. Unlike this coming fall, there will not be an off week after the Monday game, meaning Notre Dame will have a short five days to prepare for Toledo on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In at least one additional respect, the 2021 schedule looks very similar to the 2019 slate in that the home half is lacking in marquee games, headlined by the usual mid-October appointment with USC and followed in notoriety by, arguably, if Jeff Brohm can continue to spur rapid progression, Purdue.
The 2021 schedule in full:
Sept. 6 — Monday at Florida State
Sept.11 — vs. Toledo
Sept. 18 — vs. Purdue
Sept. 25 — at Wisconsin at Soldier Field in Chicago
Oct. 2 — vs. Cincinnati
Oct. 9 — at Virginia Tech
Oct. 23 — vs. USC
Oct. 30 — vs. North Carolina
Nov. 6 — vs. Navy
Nov. 13 — at Virginia
Nov. 20 — vs. Georgia Tech
Nov. 27 — at Stanford