Notre Dame football plays a conference schedule for the first time ever in 2020. Does that set the Irish up for a potential upset?
As a “full” member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2020, the Notre Dame football team will learn what it is like to face the brunt of a conference schedule in a way they haven’t before.
While being in a conference doesn’t necessarily mean that Notre Dame will have a more difficult go of things in 2020 — in fact, many might argue the Irish actually have less talented teams on the roster now — it does present perhaps and interesting extra challenge.
The Irish will have many mutual opponents with every team they face this year — opponents that have plenty of familiarity with each other. Because of this, playing in a conference might, in fact, be a different type of challenge for the Irish, even if it’s not what you would consider a bigger challenge.
With Clemson being the obvious exception, Notre Dame should be favored in just about all its games this season. So which team on Notre Dame’s schedule has the opportunity to give the Irish a scare and perhaps even pull an upset?
For me, the clear answer is the Boston College Eagles.
The Irish travel to Boston College in 2020, with the game scheduled to take place on November 14th. The key here, though, is that the Irish go to Boston College the week after hosting Clemson. In other words, the Irish will take on the Eagles either having ridden an emotional high after a monumental game against Clemson, or after having suffered a tremendously disappointing loss.
Those factors coupled with the whole Phil Jurkovec fiasco that occurred when the former Notre Dame quarterback decided to transfer, and there could be a lot of distractions, storylines, and maybe even a little bit of talk off the football field that could contribute to Notre Dame failing to play to its potential.
If the Irish are going to contend for an ACC Championship in 2020 (yes, that still sounds weird), they’re going to have to be on their A-game in Chestnut Hill.