(Ian Book running for a first down)
Notre Dame is set to play Clemson on December 29th in the Cotton Bowl. Clemson comes in ranked number two in the country while Notre Dame is ranked third. The Fighting Irish are coming into the Cotton Bowl with a 12-0 record showing the country they are a top-four team. However, like every year their record does not prove anything, due to the strength of their schedule.
Notre Dame played eight unranked teams this season. The only teams the Fighting Irish played ranked inside the top 15 were Stanford, Syracuse, and Michigan. At the time, Stanford was ranked seventh but are now no longer ranked. Michigan who is now ranked seventh in the country, however, when the Fighting Irish played the Wolverines in the season opener Michigan was ranked 14th. Syracuse, who were one of the hottest teams in the NCAA at the beginning of the season, slowed down throughout the year in which they ended ranked 20th in the nation. Only a few of their wins can be considered "blowout wins." Their most significant victory regarding point differential was against Syracuse 36-3 win at Yankee Stadium. The Irish have had a lot of close games against non-ranked teams. Against Ball State, they won by just eight points. When they played Pitt, they won by just five points. Unranked Vanderbilt? They also only won by five. USC, they won by seven rivalry games are usually always close so this is a pass.