Notre Dame football: Previewing the stretch run

Notre Dame football

Notre Dame football now holds the nation’s longest active winning streak. Securing a 31-13 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Irish have grabbed their 12th consecutive win and are now past the halfway point of this season. With five games left, Notre Dame has to remain undefeated in order for it to be strongly considered for the College Football Playoff.

However, there are potential threats that could prevent the Irish from finishing 11-0. First, the inevitable team no one wants to face: Clemson. With No. 1 Clemson heading to South Bend this weekend, this will be Notre Dame football’s first matchup with a No.1 team since USC in 2005. That game did not end in Notre Dame’s favor, yet it was a close battle. Since the Irish have another opportunity at home field advantage against the No.1 team, this could be their chance to show their potential.

No Trevor Lawrence?

Quite the shocking news and definitely not the story I predicted, but Trevor Lawrence is out for this Saturday’s game. This is a major loss for the Tigers and an incredible benefit for the Irish. While the nation wishes Lawrence a speedy recovery, this could not have come at a better time for Notre Dame. Lawrence is an incredible athlete and has made quite the impact on Clemson football. This is quite the extra incentive for Notre Dame to beat the Tigers, but it should still portray top performance as there are many strong aspects of Clemson football that do not include Lawrence.

The Last 4 Games

Just because Notre Dame plays seemingly unranked teams after Clemson does not mean it has a smooth ride until the end. After Clemson, the Irish have one last home game. They are on the road against Boston College, North Carolina and Wake Forest. This alone could be a threat, as playing on foreign turf is a different feel for every team.

Boston College

The Eagles are not a foreign competitor to the Irish, as both schools have played each other pretty regularly in the past. Boston College was originally not on my radar, but it recently showed potential. The reason I say that is due to the Eagles’ hard-fought battle against Clemson. They blew a first half lead to ultimately lose by six points, but it was enough to consider them a decent football team. Considering Clemson has beat every other competitor by at least 15 points, this was an impressive showing by Boston College and I have put them on my radar for a potential threat to Notre Dame. Players that could rough up the Irish include Zay Flowers and Brandon Sebastian.

North Carolina

North Carolina was a team that intrigued me in the beginning of the season. It kept creeping into the AP Top 25 for quite some time and the Tar Heels offensive backfield combination was off to an impressive start. They were surely creating a target on their back in the ACC. Recent losses made me think otherwise. North Carolina fell to both unranked Florida State and Virginia the past two weekends. The only way I see North Carolina being a threat to Notre Dame is if the Irish defense performs below their potential on game day.

Wake Forest and Syracuse

I am going to group these last two games of the Irish’s regular season together. Both relatively weaker programs this year, I do not see either teams proposing a big threat to Notre Dame. Syracuse is currently one of the worst teams in the ACC, being 1-5 in the conference. Wake Forest is right below North Carolina in ACC standings. With the Tar Heels hosting the Demon Deacons this weekend, the outcome will allow for more clarity on who the better football program is.

Photo by Allison Thornton | The Observer

Leave A Comment