There will be no messing around at the start of this Notre Dame football season.

Michigan comes to South Bend for a marquee night game on Saturday, Sept. 1. By the time the NBC crew signs off, the Irish will either be squarely in the playoff hunt. Or disappointed.

Of course, that’s also true for Michigan. Which is why some of us love the college game over the NFL, where a team can have a schedule littered with losses and still be in the championship hunt.

An opening loss will not necessarily disqualify the Irish or the Wolverines from the College Football Playoff. It will make the margin for error miniscule the rest of the way, though.

The key question for the Irish: Is quarterback Brandon Wimbush ready to learn from a challenging 2017? The physical tools aren’t in question. If Wimbush sees a field filled with talented receivers, Notre Dame could see a lot of success. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.