A pitfall in Notre Dame's path

Updated: April 20, 2012, 2:09 PM ET
By Travis Haney

It's not as if you are required to be a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan to understand the recurring conversation in recent years about the team. The discussion has intermittently drifted through workplaces and sports bars across America. At its heart, this is the crux: When will Notre Dame be "back"? When will the Dome's luster return to shimmering gold, in a way that both irritates and fuels the college football landscape?

That's a complicated question, especially for the 2012 Irish. What do you expect for any season that begins in Europe?

Seriously, though, Notre Dame and Brian Kelly might very well be putting together a team capable of being "back," but you would never know it because the Irish's schedule this fall is so ridiculous. That's not atypical for ND, but this '12 setup is a bit on the extreme end of things.