Is Notre Dame 'Desperate' To Beat Texas A&M in Week 1?

According to one analyst, Notre Dame needs to win the season opener at Kyle Field much more than the Aggies do.
Nov 25, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman fires up his troops before taking on the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2023; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman fires up his troops before taking on the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas A&M Aggies and Notre Dame Fighting Irish are set to face off at Kyle Field on August 31, in what is currently one of the most anticipated games of the opening weekend of college football.

The Irish come into the season projected as a top-10 team and a College Football Playoff contender. Meanwhile, the Aggies also carry a preseason top-25 ranking in most preseason projections.

Of course, hosting a top-10 team in Week 1 at their own house is a massive opportunity for the Aggies, who are desperate to right the ship under new first-year head coach Mike Elko, after six years of frustration under Jimbo Fisher.

On the other side of that coin, the Irish will be looking to prove that they are a real contender for the playoff.

But which team needs the game more? According to college football analyst Greg McElroy, it is without a doubt the Fighting Irish.

“I don’t even think it’s close, I think by a mile it’s Notre Dame,” McElroy said on his YouTube show, Always College Football. “I think you look at Notre Dame this is the year, this the year that Marcus Freeman has circled... If you look just at what they have back, I think everything is lined up for Notre Dame this year to make a run.”

To McElroy's point, coming into the season as a CFP contender, all the pressure will be on the Irish.

However, it is not just about proving themselves to be a real contender. It is also about shedding a stigma of negativity that has surrounded the program on big stages for years.

Meanwhile, for the Aggies, who enter the year with largely a new-look roster, as well as the first year under Elko, the game is ostensibly a free shot, and a chance to make a statement of their own.

And according to McElroy, that makes the game a must-win for the Irish and their head coach, Marcus Freeman.

“I think this is a must-win for Marcus Freeman,” McElroy said. “I think back to all the negativity surrounding the program a couple of years ago when he took over... There’s a lot of negativity at that point I think could boil over and the event that they don’t win on the road at A&M against a team that doesn’t have significant expectations. So the pressure without question is on the Irish and on Marcus Freeman in particular.”

The Aggies and Fighting Irish are set to kick off in primetime on 6:30 pm CT on ABC in College Station.


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Matt Galatzan

MATT GALATZAN

Matt Galatzan is the Managing Editor and Publisher of LonghornsCountry.com, AllAggies.com, and MizzouSportsTalk.com, as well as the Editor-In-Chief of InsideTheBears.com, TheGroveReport.com, RamDigest.com, AllSeahawks.com, and TexansDaily.com. Galatzan graduated from the University of Mississippi, where he studied integrated marketing communications, with minors in journalism and business administration. Galatzan started in the sports journalism industry under Mike Fisher at DallasBasketball.com in 2014, which at the time was part of the 247Sports network. He also spent two years covering the SMU Mustangs for PonyStampede.com on the 247Sports network. When DallasBasketball.com and CowboysCountry.com moved over to Sports Illustrated's Fan Nation network in 2020, Galatzan followed suit, eventually being taking over as the Managing Editor and Publisher of LonghornsCountry.com and AllAggies.com a year later. Through the years, Galatzan has conducted a handful of high-profile one-on-one interviews to add to his resume — in both writing and podcasting. Some of his biggest interviews have been with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, former Longhorns players Dan Neil and Phil Dawson, and many other recruits, and current/former players for each of the teams he has covered. Galatzan is also a full-time employee in the digital media department for Audacy and KRLD FM's 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, which is the official radio home of the Dallas Cowboys. You can find Galatzan on all major social media channels. For any inquiries, please email matt.galatzan@gmail.com