After finishing the regular season without a loss for the first time in about 20 years, Notre Dame, the once standard of college football, has recaptured a favorable spotlight and hopes to ride the momentum back to the BCS National Championship. 

Notre Dame fans can again have reasonable aspirations of bowl games opposed to the recent year of just hoping to escape the season with a winning record.  The Fighting Irish have come alive but the road ahead still presents its plethora of obstacles including tough opponents, rivalry games and rematches. 

Every opponent besides Temple, Arizona State, Navy and Air Force, should present a real challenge for the Irish.  In just their second game, Notre Dame will play Michigan in Ann Arbor.  Notre Dame edged out the Wolverines by just a touchdown this past season and lost the previous year when playing in Michigan. 
The Irish will next travel for an in state matchup against Purdue.  The teams have a natural rivalry being so close and on top of that Notre Dame only won by 3 points last year. 

Notre Dame will next host Michigan State followed by Oklahoma who were both favored to beat the Irish last year but lost.  The Spartans and Sooners will be looking to repay the Irish for last year and make a statement for this year as Notre dame provides both teams their first difficult matchup. 

The USC Trojans will be looking to recapture their dominance over Notre Dame in recent years.  Last year, the stage was set for USC to end Notre Dame’s perfection in their final regular season game but Notre Dame prevailed 22-13. 

After the military school matchups, Notre Dame will travel to play the Pittsburgh Panthers.  The Panthers nearly upset the Irish last year and the game was eventually decided in overtime.  Pitt is also a rival and will always come to play against Notre Dame.  

The Irish will then host BYU, who nearly upset Notre Dame last year.  The final score was 17-14. 

Finally, Notre Dame will have a rematch with Stanford in their last game of the regular season.  Last year’s matchup with the Cardinals was one of the closet and most memorable games from Notre Dame’s 2012 perfect regular season.  The Irish held Stanford out of the endzone on the one yard line as time expired and secured the win. 

Hopefully the team can capture another winning groove for this season and establish the fact that Notre Dame is back in college football.

Coach Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish - a force to be reckoned withGoogle Images