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Schedule, D make Irish's case for No. 2

Remember when we were all talking about Notre Dame's 2012 schedule as one of the most daunting in recent memory? No? Let me remind you.

  • The Irish were traveling to the AP preseason Nos. 1 and 4 teams, along with No. 13.

  • They were hosting Nos. 8 and 21, too, after losing to both three seasons in a row.

  • They were traveling to Dublin, Ireland, for their opener before an off-site game against rival Miami, and they were facing six teams coming off double-digit-win seasons.

Jack Swarbrick had joked at one point before the season began that he would "fire the AD" for putting together a slate so tough. Throw in question marks under center and in the secondary, and this was the least optimistic outlook for a Notre Dame season that anyone could imagine.

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