McGee: ND early schedule loser

Colleague Ryan McGee takes a look today at the top 10 teams who could be hurt by their early-season schedules in 2012. Checking in at No. 8 on the list is Notre Dame.

McGee, who says "take your pick" for the Irish's biggest test, writes:

First, calling Dublin, Ireland (vs. Navy) and Solider Field (vs. Miami) "neutral sites" is a stretch. Those are home games. Second, if I keep using you as a tough game over and over on this list, then your schedule is ridiculous.

Of the 25 teams on [Mark] Schlabach's Way Too Early list, the Fighting Irish play five. Nine of their 12 opponents played in bowls to close this season, and the Irish have to travel to East Lansing, Norman and the Coliseum. Good luck with that.

If it's any consolation, five of the other nine teams McGee lists are Notre Dame opponents in 2012: Oklahoma (No. 2), Michigan State (No. 4), Michigan (No. 5), Stanford (No. 7) and Miami (No. 9).