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Irish Eyes Looking Across the Pond: Navy-Notre Dame Kicks Off College Football

College Football Pays Another Visit to Dublin

Week 0 of the 2022 college football season featured Nebraska and Northwestern clashing in Dublin, Ireland. This was the first regular-season college football outside of the United States since Stanford and Rice met in Australia in 2017.

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will play host to a college football game for the second consecutive season, as the Navy Midshipmen and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will collide in Week 0. This is the first game of the 2023 season, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 26. The sportsbook has Notre Dame tabbed as 19½-point favorites. Check out what to know for Week 0 battle taking place across the pond.

Irish Eyes Looking Across the Pond: Navy-Notre Dame Kicks Off College Football
Sam Hartman #10 of the Notre Dame | quinn harris/getty images/afp

Fighting Irish Visit the Motherland

This is not the first time that the Fighting Irish played in Ireland. Dublin played host to Navy-Notre Dame in 1996 and 2012. The Irish cruised to victories in both meetings, winning 54-27 in 1996 and 50-10 in 2012. Could Notre Dame visit Ireland more often? Ireland is a fitting site for the Fighting Irish, whose nickname was inspired by the university’s third president William Corby who served as chaplain of the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War.

This is the first time college football has visited Dublin in back-to-back seasons since 1988 and 1989. The Aer Lingus College Football Classic looks to be a new tradition, as Georgia Tech and Florida State will visit Aviva Stadium in 2024.

Navy and Notre Dame also unveiled new swag for the Week 0 clash.

Both are clearly inspired by Ireland’s culture with Celtic prints. Kudos to whoever came up with this idea. I am a big fan of the Irish details. Plus, the navy and gold uniforms of both schools add to the look. This could be one of the best uniform battles of the 2023 season.

Battle of the Golden Domes

Now that we have the background information out of the way, let’s dig into the actual matchup. According to college football lines, Notre Dame is a heavy favorite (-1300). This doesn’t come as a surprise. The Irish will likely fall between No. 10 to No. 15 in the preseason poll, while the Midshipmen could be poised for a losing season.

NCAA football odds have Notre Dame’s projected win total at 9 and Navy’s at 6½. After finishing 9-4 in Marcus Freeman’s first season as head coach, the Fighting Irish are looking to take the next step.

They landed quarterback Sam Hartman, who was seventh in 247 Sports’ transfer portal rankings. Hartman recorded at least 3,700 passing yards in his final two seasons at Wake Forest. The former Demon Deacon could help transform the passing attack, which ranked 92nd in yards per game last season. If he performs at an All-American level, which Hartman is capable of, Notre Dame could be a College Football Playoff sleeper.

The Irish are priced at +500 to make the playoffs, per college football odds. The Golden Domers will have the chance to prove themselves in Week 4 against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who NCAA odds have as the third choice to win the national championship (+700).

The Midshipmen are entering a new era after hiring Brian Newberry as head coach. Ken Niumatalolo was the head man since 2007. After Navy’s third consecutive losing season, it was time to turn a page. Newberry was the Midshipmen’s defensive coordinator in the previous four seasons. They ranked among the top three in total defense in the American Athletic Conference in all four years under Newberry.

Navy is expected to use the triple option offense, as always. However, there will be changes in Newberry’s first year as head honcho. Offensive Coordinator Grant Chesnut is looking to add more passing wrinkles paired with new formations. The Midshipmen ranked third-to-last in passing attempts per game in 2022. Blake Horvath and Tedros Gleaton are competing for the starting quarterback position. Navy is hoping to revamp its stale offense. Notre Dame’s defense will be a tough first test for the Midshipmen.

Hopefully, we get another entertaining game in Dublin. Nebraska and Northwestern went back and forth last season with the Wildcats winning 31-28. Will Navy give the Fighting Irish a run for their money across the pond?

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