For the fourth time since their most recent national title, in 1988, Notre Dame football is playing late season games with national title implications. In 1993, 2012 and 2018, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in the mix for the biggest prize of all, but ultimately fell short.
Is this the season that the Irish finally get over the hump and hit the jackpot? As it stands, they’re undefeated, ranked #2 in the nation and facing odds which aren’t bad at all.
It’s going to take hard work, skill, determination, and of course, a few breaks. The luck of the Irish needs to be on their side, and if you play at the Best Irish Online Casinos you’ll understand what that phrase really means, and why it originated in the Emerald Isle. Taking chances and defying the odds has always been in the blood of the Irish.
At SBD (Sports Betting Dime) Alabama (-900) and Ohio State (-775) are basically locks for the College Football Playoff, while Clemson, who the Irish upset in momentous and historic fashion two weeks ago are (-400).
Notre Dame (-245) joins the Tigers as the heavy favorites to grab the last two CFP spots.
Getting into that golden ticket into the final four is one thing, as ND was just there for the first time in 2018. Closing the deal and finding the largest pot of gold at the end of the college football rainbow is another task entirely.
SBD’s national championships odds place the Irish just outside the top four.
Alabama leads the way (+163) followed by Ohio State (+263), Clemson (+313) and Florida (+1050) Notre Dame comes in at (+1450). I’m sure this is deeply offensive to hard core Domers, and I think they have a right to grind their gears on this one.
The Fighting Irish are 8-0, 7-0 in ACC play this season, and they’ve outscored their opponents this season on aggregate 301-133. Not to mention how the last three games remaining are not especially challenging.
On bye week this Saturday, the run in begins on Black Friday, Nov 27 at North Carolina (33o EST on ABC). This will be the toughest game left on the schedule, as the Tar Heels are 6-2 and spent a decent portion of this season nationally ranked.
“We’ve got a target on our backs now,” Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said after the win over then #1 Clemson in double overtime.
“The real challenge now is to keep this football team accelerating. We’ve got a lot of things to work on that we saw today, and that will be my focus moving forward.”
Kelly is right- opponents will be gunning for them even more so than usual now.
Then comes Senior Day, on December 5 vs Syracuse (230 EST NBC), and the regular season finale at Wake Forest Dec 12 (noon television TBA), a game that was rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Fighting Irish will go as far as their starting quarterback Ian Book will take them.
He’s playing his best ball and coming into his own right now, so that could be pretty far!
The ESPN predictor app gives ND the fourth best chances (48.7%), of anyone in the nation, in regards to playoff qualification. Regarding the national title, the projection is just 5.4%, but still good for fifth highest overall. No surprise here, given that ESPN and the SEC are strong bedfellows, but Alabama is the overwhelming front-runner in both categories here.
Still many believe that magical, instant classic between the Fighting Irish and Clemson on November 7 was a de facto playoff game, and that opinion holds creedence given how it was a rematch of a 2018 playoff semifinal.
No matter how this season ends for the Fighting Irish, they’ll always have the memories of that victory.
“That’s worth celebrating when you come back and win a football game the way we did in double overtime,” Kelly said in the postgame presser that night.
“So we’re not celebrating because we showed the world or we changed the narrative or did this because they were the No. 1 team in the country.”
“We did it because we proved something to ourselves, and that’s really satisfying and that’s what we’re celebrating.”
The real celebration, the most massive rejoicing that this generation of Notre Dame football fans has seen in a generation, will come if/when the Fighting Irish run the table.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.