Notre Dame is firmly in the playoff conversation. They should not be.
Soon (5 Days from now) they won’t be. Clemson will beat the Irish by two touchdowns.
This is because Clemson is very good. Notre Dame is not.
Notre Dame is good, and belongs in the best of the rest bucket with Florida, Georgia, Cincinnati, and Texas A&M.
The Clemson Win is Kind of Weak
Notre Dame does not really have any great wins on there schedule.
The best win is against a Clemson team missing maybe the most important or best player in all of college football.
Sure, Clemson still has great talent outside of Lawrence, but he is REALLY good, as we all know.
Let’s dive into that win.
Clemson lost their starting QB on short notice, put in a young guy, and still played Notre Dame to a standstill. It took multiple OT’s for Notre Dame to win this game.
Notre Dame needed 2 OT’s to beat a team that is led by a star QB that was missing him. The tightness of the game and final score show the amount of talent on Clemson.
No Other Great Wins
The other best wins on the schedule are a decent UNC team and…I don’t know escaping 12-7 against a bad Louisville team?
Really uninspiring stuff from Notre Dame this season. The schedule has been pillow soft and while they have won, there have been some scares and poor play.
They haven’t beaten anyone of note besides that fake Clemson game.
Now you may point out that Clemson’s schedule has also been easy as pie.
Their best win is against a Miami team that got devastated by UNC. However, underlying metrics paint a friendlier picture for the Tigers than Irish.
Here’s a bit of detail. One of the simplest and best metrics to determine how good a team is would be the point differential.
Clemson is a touchdown better in that department, despite the loss to Notre Dame.
FPI has Clemson ahead in most metrics, including both strength of schedule and power ranking.
As in – get this – Clemson is the better team.
They have a way better offense and better defense.
This ACC championship will show the class the Clemson has and hopefully push Notre Dame out of the picture.
Otherwise Alabama, the clear best team in the country, with OSU being the clear second best at this juncture, will have the easiest of wins in the first round of the playoff.
-Brent Buckley (@bigbucksbuckley on twitter)