Notre Dame’s 2023 schedule isn’t easy by any means. Pro Football Focus confirmed as much this past weekend.
The popular outlet released its annual offseason ranking of the top 25 coaches in college football on April 7. Notre Dame is slated to face four of the coaches who made the cut this upcoming season.
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is No. 4, USC’s Lincoln Riley is No. 5, Ohio State’s Ryan Day is No. 7 and Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson is No. 22. Notre Dame faces the Tigers on Nov. 4, the Trojans on Oct. 14, the Buckeyes on Sept. 23 and the Demon Deacons on Nov. 18.
Here’s what PFF said about all four coaches.
No. 4 Dabo Swinney
Although the last two years haven’t been up to the Clemson standard, it’s important to contextualize how elite of a standard it is.
Clemson finished in the top 10 of the AP poll for seven-straight seasons until 2021. Before Swinney took over, the Tigers last did that in 1990. Clemson has won seven of the last eight ACC championships and a couple national titles under Swinney as well (2016 and 2018). With the best offensive coordinator in the country on his payroll in Garrett Riley and a quarterback with sky-high potential in Cade Klubnik, Swinney could get back to his elite ways this season.
No. 5 Lincoln Riley
If you’re a quarterback, you’re going to want to play for Lincoln Riley. Three of the last six Heisman Trophy winners have been his signal-callers, including this past year’s Caleb Williams.
In five years at Oklahoma, Riley won four Big 12 championships and brought the Sooners to the College Football Playoff three times. In his first season at USC, the Trojans went 11-3 and were one win away from making the College Football Playoff. The year before he got there, USC went 4-8. With the reigning Heisman winner returning, Riley should have the Trojans knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff once again.
More Notre Dame football
No. 7 Ryan Day
Even though Day has three Playoff appearances in four years as Ohio State’s head coach, he hasn’t quite lived up to the level of success that his predecessor, Urban Meyer, had.
Ohio State has now lost to Michigan twice in a row, which hasn’t happened in 22 years. The Buckeyes have also gone two years without winning the Big Ten after winning the conference four-straight times. If Day doesn’t get either of those monkeys off his back this year, some uncomfortable conversations could happen in Columbus concerning his job security.
No. 22 Dave Clawson
In 2021, Clawson led Wake Forest to an 11-3 record, as the Demon Deacons finished No. 15 in the AP poll. At one point in the year, Wake Forest was in the top 10. It was both the first top-10 ranking and first top-15 finish in program history. The Demon Deacons once again cracked the top 10 this past season and finished with an 8-5 record. Clawson took a program once in the basement of the ACC and has had a winning year in six of the last seven seasons.
More Notre Dame football
Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman did not appear on the list. He was No. 35 according to Sporting News going into his first season last year. Former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly came in at No. 7 per PFF.
Here’s the full top 25 from PFF.
Alabama’s Nick Saban Georgia’s Kirby SmartMichigan’s Jim Harbaugh Clemson’s Dabo Swinney USC’s Lincoln Riley LSU’s Brian KellyOhio State’s Ryan Day Utah’s Kyle Whittingham Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell Penn State’s James Franklin Tennessee’s Josh Heupel TCU’s Sonny DykesOle Miss’ Lane KiffinKansas’ Lance LeipoldWashington’s Kalen DeBoerKansas State’s Chris Klieman Texas A&M’s Jimbo FisherKentucky’s Mark StoopsOklahoma State’s Mike GundyTulane’s Willie FritzUCLA’s Chip KellyWake Forest’s Dave Clawson Florida State’s Mike Norvell Oregon State’s Jonathan SmithNebraska’s Matt Rhule
The post Notre Dame to face four of top 25 coaches in college football per PFF appeared first on On3.