Human are awesome. At some point in existence, somebody -- probably a guy that people looked at as the local sociopath -- built what would eventually be called a "boat." It was dropped in the water and, eventually, didn't sink because physics are a thing. Then, at some other point in time, someone decided that propeller planes weren't fast enough, so some cat attached a jet to a fuselage and invented the "jet plane." Then, somebody looked at a boat and a jet plane and decided that they should be mashed together, creating the "jet boat," which is totally unnecessary and ridiculously awesome at the same time.
That's kind of the evolution that brings us to Notre Dame's lacrosse schedule for 2013. Playing strong teams mixed with a smattering of guaranteed wins isn't enough for the Irish. No, Notre Dame looked at the landscape and decided to do something totally unnecessary: Just play every damn team worth a damn, all over the country, and take accusations of insanity in stride.
I've seen a lot of impressive schedules in my day, but the Irish's slate is almost as impressive as Eisenhower's Axis opponents on the European continent and in the Pacific Ocean. It's filled with big names and fancy event locations, and there may not be a team that approaches the Irish's overall strength of schedule this coming spring. Let's pick it apart.
The Power and the Fury
February 16: @ Duke; February 24: @ Penn State; March 2: North Carolina; March 9: Hofstra; March 16: v. Denver; March 20: Ohio State
I don't . . . I just . . . I mean . . . this is sadism.
Let's be clear about this: Notre Dame's non-conference schedule includes four teams that will certainly be in everybody's top-15 (only one of those games is at Arlotta); an Ohio State team that has the potential to curb-stomp some teams in 2013; and a Hofstra outfit that was snakebitten in 2012 and should ruffle some feathers in THUNDERDOME! next spring. Throw in the fact that the Irish's Denver date is going to be played at altitude in front of what should be a large and vocal Pioneers crowd, and that the Irish will see the Buckeyes just a few days after that game, and there's all kinds of craziness happening here other than simply lining up some of the biggest guys in the bar and challenging them to a brawl.
April 2: v. Marquette
The exact location of the Chicago lacrosse homicide is still to be determined. Coroners are at the ready.
How Did Notre Dame Swing Its Big East Schedule?
March 24: @ Rutgers; March 30: St. John's; April 7: @ Providence; April 13: Georgetown; April 20: Villanova; April 27: v. Syracuse
The Irish, with the exception of the Syracuse game, will get the entire meat of its conference schedule at Arlotta this year. That's pretty damn preferable, especially because the Hoyas and Wildcats games are in back-to-back weeks -- no travel! -- and St. John's will need to cross half of the country to take on the Irish, which should help Notre Dame as they'll be catching the Red Storm on a relatively short week after playing in New Jersey the weekend prior. You can't draw it up better than that. (Well, you can, but it'd involve making every team play you at home holding a requirement that all travel to South Bend must be made by horse and carriage rather than modern traveling concerns.)
Moreover, the Irish don't even need to play the Orange in the Carrier Dome -- one of college lacrosse's most difficult venues for opponents -- in 2013. They draw the Orange in a vital Big East game at MetLife Stadium as part of the Big City Classic. Everything is coming up Irish!