#2 Notre Dame vs #3 Clemson: ACC Title Game Odds, TV Info, Preview

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When the #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish meet the #3 Clemson Tigers next week, it will be a rematch of both a regular season game and a 2018 College Football Playoff semifinal.

The 2020 ACC title game will kickoff at 4pm EST in Charlotte, and the team that won the previous meeting is actually the underdog here. That is certainly understandable given the circumstances involved.

clemson tigers

The Tigers are early favorites to win the 2021 title according to Sports Betting Dime, but they fell to ND 47-40 in 2OT on Nov 10 in South Bend. It was the first win for the Irish over a #1 team (coincidentally, also an ACC side) since Florida State in 1993.  Underdogs by more than a touchdown, the limited number of Irish fans who were allowed in stormed the field for a celebration that was certainly not socially distant by any means.

The bookies haven’t given the Irish any additional respect for that win however, as ND will be about 10.5 underdogs to Clemson here.

Last month, the Fighting Irish were 8 point underdogs, as they benefited from having star Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, whom many figure will be the first player selected in the NFL Draft come April, out due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Home field advantage also played a role, and the Tigers were also missing their best defensive player, as well as a couple of other key defenders in that one.

That side of the ball will no doubt be more robust and stout this time around, and with a game where the total is 61, and the moneyline -110 in favor of Clemson, every possession, especially those in the red zone, counts.  While Clemson are bonafide national championship contenders, Alabama and Ohio State still have better playoff and national title projections, according to the ESPN FPI.

On Monday, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly discussed the differences in preparing for Clemson with Trevor Lawrence versus D.J. Uiagalelei: “Not much. The system is the system that they run. There may be a little bit more activation of some quarterback runs.”

And you can’t preview this game without bringing up what happened the last time these two sides in postseason.

Clemson won in the 2018 Cotton Bowl, a final four game, 30-3, and that result still sticks with everyone involved in ND.

Prediction: Clemson 31, Notre Dame 27

Kelly will soon pass Knute Rockne for most wins all-time as ND head coach, but he still doesn’t have a title, and the two times he’s played for it, ended in complete disaster. He and his program still needs to show that they can hang with a blue blood, elite southern school on the biggest stage.

I’m thinking they at least keep it close this time, but ultimately fall short.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, 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 WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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