Is the Irish football schedule too tough for 2012?

On Wednesday, Michigan announced that they will not play Notre Dame in football in 2018 and 2019. There are plans to resume the series in 2020.

For the Irish, maybe they could have used the hiatus for this season.

Notre Dame has the toughest schedule in the country according to Phil Steele. The Irish have five potential top 15 opponents on the schedule, including road tilts at Oklahoma, USC and Michigan State.

Notre Dame's home schedule includes Michigan and Stanford and this year's neutral site game is against Miami at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Ten of the 12 opponents are from BCS conferences. The only two that are not are BYU and the season opener against Navy in Ireland. Taking each situation into consideration, there is not a single cupcake game on the Irish schedule in 2012.

So it begs the question---are the Irish over-scheduled for the upcoming season?

"I don't think so," Irish coach Brian Kelly told NewsCenter 16's Jeff Jeffers this week. "I really think the challenges that are on our schedule are ones we can meet. Two years--not know what I now know about our football team that I now know about our guys--we're excited about the challenges."

Notre Dame coaching legend Lou Holtz, who led the Irish to its last national championship in 1988 feels this year's schedule is exactly the type that Notre Dame should have every year.

"In 1989, we played seven conference champions and beat them all," Holtz explained. "That's Notre Dame."

Holtz explained that when Father Joyce hired him, it was made perfectly clear to Holtz that Notre Dame would play the most difficult schedule it could find.

"They expected to win," Holtz explained of the Notre Dame mentality. "It's just the Notre Dame way. You are a national school, you go play the best wherever it is and you expect to win."

Notre Dame opens the season against Navy in Dublin on September 1st.

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