The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is preparing to take on the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 29.
Notre Dame will play in the College Football Playoff for the first time since it was enacted prior to the start of the 2014 college football season. The Fighting Irish had to be perfect to get there, and a 12-0 regular season was enough to secure the No. 3 spot in the final playoff rankings.
Notre Dame was able to avoid multiple close calls along the way, including one-possession victories over Michigan, Ball State, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh and USC. The three consecutive one-score wins to open the season influenced Brian Kelly to swap starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush out for Ian Book, who ESPN recapped Notre Dame’s ride to the playoff in the video below.
The Fighting Irish get their shot at a title for the first time since 2012.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) December 23, 2018
The Fighting Irish players spent the weekend with their families, but the team will reconvene on Monday to travel to Dallas. Notre Dame’s equipment truck is already in town.
“Getting them prepared for that moment,” Kelly said about one of the objectives of the week leading up to the semifinal showdown. “Making sure they’re aware of it. It’s great, we’re going to practice four times inside AT&T (Stadium) getting a look at it—that JumboTron is 60 yards long. Just getting used to the environment there is really helpful. Being aware of it. Getting them in-tuned with what it’s going to be like is most important.”