Notre Dame opens season vs Rice under cloud because of investigation into possible cheating

Notre Dame won't be at full strength when it opens the season against Rice and might not be all season.

It marks the second straight season the Irish are being hampered by academic problems. A year after starting quarterback Everett Golson missed the season because of academic impropriety, five players are being held out indefinitely while the university investigates whether they received improper help on homework and papers. That includes three starters, two on defense.

Rice is coming off a 10-4 season where the Owls won their first outright conference title in 57 years and are expected to challenge in Conference USA again. Rice quarterback Driphus Jackson said the team isn't awed by Notre Dame, and the Owls are looking to make a statement against the Irish.