Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly mentioned the No. 2 Fighting Irish are “with out query” one of many high 4 groups within the nation, even after dropping to No. 3 Clemson within the ACC championship recreation 34-10.
The Irish beat Clemson 47-40 in double extra time in November, however their efficiency on Saturday night time in Charlotte, North Carolina, was far completely different, as they fell behind early and couldn’t make it a recreation after halftime.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who missed the primary Notre Dame recreation after contracting the coronavirus, was an enormous distinction this time round, as he accounted for 412 yards (322 passing, 90 speeding) and three touchdowns in Saturday’s win.
As a result of Notre Dame misplaced for the primary time all season, it’s now now not assured a spot within the Faculty Soccer Playoff. So which means Kelly has to begin lobbying for his staff, in the best way Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher did earlier Saturday.
“We have got two top-15 wins,” Kelly mentioned. “We have got a win over this Clemson staff that was No. 1 within the nation. I do not know that anyone has a résumé that has these two wins, and we have performed 11 video games. That issues, taking part in 11 video games. Testing your staff week in and week out I believe in my thoughts places us as with out query as one of many high 4 groups within the nation.”
Kelly was clearly referring to Ohio State, which won the Big Ten championship however performed solely six video games and wanted the convention to alter its guidelines about eligibility for the championship recreation to even attain it.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book echoed that sentiment when he described the bodily and psychological toll that units in after taking part in 11 video games versus six.
“You put together each single day for therefore lengthy, you go on the market, you place your physique on the road each single play and mentally it is a 60-minute battle,” Guide mentioned. “I am not the committee, however it’s powerful. I do not even keep in mind who we performed Week 6, it has been so lengthy, however that is a part of the sport, and we’re comfortable that we performed 11 video games and been ready win 10 of them. I believe there is a distinction, however it’s less than me.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney additionally lobbied for Notre Dame’s inclusion within the high 4 following his staff’s ACC championship win.
“Completely, Notre Dame deserves to be in,” Swinney mentioned. “They’re 10-1. They performed 11 video games. They stepped within the ring with Clemson twice. Completely, they need to be in. Ain’t little doubt about that. No method would I punish somebody for enjoying extra video games. That is what we appear to be doing: Reward taking part in much less video games and punish for enjoying extra. I do not get that.”
Profitable a convention championship would appear to strengthen the Buckeyes’ case — although they performed fewer video games.
Sooner or later earlier, earlier than the CFP semifinal at the Rose Bowl was officially relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Kelly mentioned his staff may not even need to take part within the playoff if families would not be allowed to attend.
Guide appeared to supply a distinct standpoint Saturday night time.
“We simply need to play once more,” he mentioned. “We’ll see who we’re taking part in and after we’re taking part in, however we simply need to play one other recreation collectively.”
Within the playoff, ideally.
“I believe you have a look at the physique of labor when it comes to what we have completed all yr,” Kelly mentioned. “We clearly misplaced to the No. 3-ranked staff within the nation tonight. Wasn’t our greatest effort, however consistency — while you play 11 video games and you’ve got a win over the No. 1 staff within the nation and you then win in opposition to an excellent North Carolina staff, I do not know that you must look any additional than that.”