The Notre Dame football team is used to dealing with a lack of respect from fans and media. But do the Irish truly have a chance against second-ranked Clemson?
Brian Kelly’s Notre Dame football team has dealt with a lack of respect all season. Of all the teams that found themselves in the playoff mix, the Irish perhaps have been the most scrutinized.
Any team that finds itself squarely in the mix of the College Football Playoff is going to be subject to its share of scrutiny, but the Irish have dealt with perhaps more than their fair share.
For weeks, the Irish dealt with the “Michigan is a completely different team than the Irish beat in week one” slander. Then, during championship week, Kirk Herbstreit suggested that the a two-loss Georgia team could and should be ranked above Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff rankings. Finally, there was the age-old “thirteenth data point” argument that insists that the Irish need to join and win a conference to get to the playoff.
The arguments against these points are numerous, but that’s simply not the point. The Irish made the College Football Playoff, but the disrespect has not ceased. At the forefront of the disrespect is the national media:
But all the disrespect aside, the question still remains: Does Notre Dame have a chance against Clemson?
The Tigers are 10.5-point favorites, according to Oddsshark. Perhaps the confidence is warranted, given that the Tigers have made the College Football Playoff for the 4th straight year.
But on the football field, the Irish have reason to be optimistic, despite the daunting task that awaits them. Let’s examine a few reasons why: