LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - One thing is certain for new University of Louisville football coach Scott Satterfield: He won't be able to ease into his first season with the Cardinals, not with the challenging schedule they'll face.
Highlights of the 2019 schedule released Wednesday afternoon - at least for fans who enjoy watching some of the nation's best college teams - will include the opening game against Notre Dame on Labor Day, Sept. 2, in Cardinal Stadium, which will mark the Irish's first appearance in Louisville.
In their only other meeting, UofL beat Notre Dame 31-28 in 2014 in South Bend. The Irish's only loss this past season came against Clemson in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs and they are expected to be a preseason top-10 team again in 2019.
UofL will host defending national champion Clemson on Oct. 29 in the other marquee game on the schedule. The Tigers were 15-0 this past year and return a solid nucleus of players off that team, including outstanding quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
In what is believed to be an unprecedented situation, Louisville will face the defending national champion for the third year in a row.
This past season 2017 champ Alabama and star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who clobbered the Cards in the season opener in Orlando, Fla., 51-14.
In 2017, Clemson was the defending titlist and, with coach Dabo Swinney urging his team to leave "no doubt" after two narrow wins in a row over UofL, the Tigers obliged by a 47-21 count.
Last season, two months after being hammered by Alabama, the Cards were obliterated by Clemson in a 77-16 mismatch.
After Notre Dame, UofL will play Eastern Kentucky at home and Western Kentucky in Nashville, then open its Atlantic Coast Conference season on Sept. 21 at Florida State. The Cards were 0-8 in the ACC in 2018. They will follow with three out of the next four games in Cardinal Stadium, then play three of their last four on the road -- at Miami, NC State and Kentucky (Nov. 30), with the only home game coming against Syracuse on Nov. 23.
With the exception of the opener, Louisville will play all of its games on Saturday and will have two bye weeks, Sept. 27 and Nov. 2.
Russ Brown, a former sportswriter for The Courier-Journal and USA Today, covers University of Louisville sports and college football and basketball for Kentucky Today. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.