Notre Dame will resume its rivalry with USC in primetime this October. After the two historic programs met every year from 1946 through 2019, the coronavirus pandemic forced a one-year pause in 2020, but that will be only a one-year pause, and its return will come under the lights as the Irish and NBC announced Thursday the 2021 home kickoff times for the 31st year of “Notre Dame on NBC,” a seven-game slate highlighted by the Trojans visiting on Oct. 23 at 7:30 ET.
A week later, Notre Dame will remain in primetime, hosting North Carolina at 7:30 ET. Led by Heisman candidate Sam Howell, the Tar Heels could end up the toughest opponent to visit South Bend in 2021.
If not them, then that will be Cincinnati, possibly a preseason top-10 team led by its own star quarterback in Desmond Ridder. The Irish will host the Bearcats at 2:30 ET, the same time as Toledo on Sept. 11, Purdue on Sept. 18 and Georgia Tech on Nov. 20.
The other historic annual rivalry that serves as a backbone of Notre Dame’s schedule — also interrupted by the pandemic for the first time since 1927 — Navy will face the Irish at 3:30 ET on Nov. 6 at Notre Dame Stadium.
All of Notre Dame’s 2021 home games will be broadcast on NBC, with Drew Brees joining the booth alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico.
The University has not yet announced attendance capacity expectations for the fall, so let that unknown serve as your incentive to go get vaccinated.
Notre Dame will conclude its spring practices this Saturday at 12:30 ET with its annual Blue-Gold Game, broadcast exclusively on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.
NOTRE DAME’S 2021 HOME SCHEDULE
Sept. 11 — vs. Toledo — 2:30 ET
Sept. 18 — vs. Purdue — 2:30 ET
Oct. 2 — vs. Cincinnati — 2:30 ET
Oct. 23 — vs. USC — 7:30 ET
Oct. 30 — vs. North Carolina — 7:30 ET
Nov. 6 — vs. Navy — 3:30 ET
Nov. 20 — vs. Georgia Tech — 2:30 ET