Notre Dame's season-opener against Temple is just over two weeks away. The Fighting Irish have a handful of questions to answer over the next two week, but their first four opponents have questions of their own. Here is a quick look at what's going on at Temple, Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State - the first four opponents on Notre Dame's schedule this fall.
Temple is one of two teams Notre Dame will face in the first three weeks of the season that has a new head coach. Matt Ruhle's biggest decision right now is who will be at quarterback when the Owls travel to South Bend for the Aug. 31 season-opener.
Senior Juice Granger entered the spring as the favorite for the job, but Connor Reilly, a junior, was named the MVP of Temple's spring game and went into the summer as the front runner for the job. Granger passed for 370 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 206 yards and another score in seven games last season, while Reilly's last meaningful snaps were in 2011.
"I don't know that I'm smart enough to know exactly when I'll make the decision," Rhule said earlier this week when asked about naming his starter. "But I would like to make it as soon as possible."
"What I won't do is wait until we get to game week to know," he continued. "We'll go into Notre Dame prep week knowing."
Temple has a scrimmage set for Saturday (Aug. 17) and Ruhle could make his decision soon after that.
Brady Hoke and the Wolverines are scrapping the spread offense they used when Denard Robinson was the quarterback and going with a pro style attack. Hoke knows Devin Gardner will be his starting quarterback, but Michigan has a scrimmage set for this Saturday as well and the battle is behind Gardner between freshman Shane Morris and sophomore walk-on Brian Cleary to see who will be Gardner's backup.
Depth at quarterback got thin for the Wolverines early in this past spring's practice when No. 2 QB Russell Bellomy tore an ACL.
Michigan has a bit of the same situation at running back as the Fighting Irish. The Wolverines have several options at the position, but so far nobody has grabbed a firm hold on the job. Hoke said fifth-year senior Fitz Toussaint was 100-percent healthy just prior to the start of fall camp after breaking his leg last November.
Wolverine offensive coordinator Al Borges told Mlive.com this week "I've always liked the featured back, but if you have two good players who can gain yards it does take a little pressure off both of them."
Freshmen Derrick Green, De'Veon Smith and Drake Johnson as well as juniors Thomas Rawls and Justice Hayes are all in the mix in the backfield.
Michigan kicks off its season on Aug. 31 when it hosts Central Michigan in a night game.
The Boilermakers have a new head coach as well in Darrell Hazell, who came to West Lafayette after two seasons of turning Kent State's program around (11-3 last season). Finding a quarterback is Hazell's top priority before the Boilermakers kick off their season on Aug. 31 at Cincinnati.
Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush and Rob Henry all saw action under center for former head coach Danny Hope last year, but Henry is the only one of those three left on the Boilermaker roster. Henry started seven games in 2010, but he missed all of 2011 with a knee injury. He passed for 216 yards and three touchdowns while playing in 11 games last year.
Danny Etling, a freshman early enrollee from Terre Haute, has been Henry's stiffest competition for the job this fall, with redshirt freshman Austin Appleby in the mix as well.
"There is a battle for number one, number two and number three," Hazell said this week. Appleby and Etling have split reps at No. 2 and No. 3 for the Boilermakers. Hazell is expected to officially name his starter by the beginning of next week.
Andrew Maxwell's starting quarterback job has been publicly in limbo this fall, but head coach Mark Dantonio said Thursday night that the job is still Maxwell's heading into a Saturday scrimmage.
"Maxwell continues to be our starter," Dantonio told WBBL Radio. "He's getting pressed by Tyler O'Connor and Connor Cook. All three of those guys have the ability to make plays, they are strong-armed, they have the size to them and they have pretty good focus and control of our offense."
Dantonio said earlier during training camp that he will likely play two quarterbacks during the early portion of the season, but he did not say which two they would be.
Maxwell started all 13 games for MSU in 2012, but he completed just 52-percent of his passes for 2,606 yards with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Cook replaced Maxwell at the end of Michigan State's 17-16 comeback win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Cook threw a touchdown pass and also guided the Spartans to their final drive that resulted in a game-winning field goal.
The Spartans are also trying to find Le'Veon Bell's successor at running back this fall. Jeremy Langford, Nick Hill, Riley Bullough and freshmen Delton Williams and Gerald Holmes are all in the mix in that battle.
Michigan State opens its season on Aug. 30 (Friday) when it hosts Western Michigan.