Virginia football schedule: 3 toughest for Cavaliers

When the 2015 college football season kicks off on Sept. 3, several programs across the country will open up the year with a few cupcakes to ease their way into rigorous conference schedules.

Virginia isn’t one of those teams.

The Cavaliers will travel three time zones away for their opener and play a total of three teams ranked in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll before their first matchup on the ACC slate. Once they get into league play, life won’t get much easier.

Of all of the challenging games on UVa’s schedule, three contests stand out as the toughest.

3. Notre Dame, Sept. 12

At No. 11 in the coaches poll, Notre Dame’s preseason ranking is the highest of all programs Virginia will face this fall. The Irish are balanced on offense with a talented running back in Tarean Folston, an outstanding receiver in Will Fuller and a group of proven, experienced pass-catchers. Malik Zaire will take over the reins at quarterback after leading his team to a win in his only career start — a 31-28 victory over LSU in the Music City Bowl. While the cupboard isn’t bare on UVa’s defense, Notre Dame shouldn’t have a ton of trouble scoring points.