For the first time in school history, Notre Dame football earned a berth in the College Football Playoff. The Irish will play Clemson in Arlington, Texas on December 29th.
In the end, there wasn’t much drama for the Notre Dame football team when it came to learning its postseason fate.
At the season’s end, it seemed clear that the Irish were a lock to make the final four of the College Football Playoff rankings. Their ranking, however, was less clear. In the end, the Irish earned the third seed.
Earned it, they did.
Many have tried to diminish the accomplishments of the Irish, but make no bones about it, Notre Dame’s path to the playoff was anything but easy.
From a hard-fought victory over rival Michigan, to a quarterback change and a re-inventing of the offense, to a near-disaster against Pittsburgh, all the way through to a dominating performance over Syracuse and the icing on the cake against USC, the Irish have faced their fair share of peaks and valleys this season.
In the end, the Irish escaped unscathed, which is something only three other FBS schools were able to accomplish this season.
Notre Dame’s berth in the College Football Playoff means a trip to Arlington, Texas and a matchup with the champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers are coming off an undefeated season of their own, capping their season with a 45-10 win over Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship. Clemson opens as an 11.5-point favorite over the Irish.
To win, Notre Dame will have to find a way to deal with Clemson’s tremendous defensive front. In addition, the Irish will come toe-to-toe with a Clemson offensive attack lead by true-freshmen Trevor Lawrence.
But there is plenty of time between now and December 29th to discuss X’s and O’s. For now, the Irish can bask in the accomplishment of making the College Football Playoff.
After all, the earned it.