Notre Dame football: The deeper meaning behind playing Syracuse

Notre Dame football is set to play its final game of the regular season this Saturday against the Syracuse Orange. Not only is it the Irish’s last game of the regular season, but it is their last time playing at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame’s game against Wake Forest was canceled earlier in the week, allowing the Irish to gain an extra week of preparation before the ACC Championship. Before the Irish can set their eyes on what is ahead, they have business to finish in South Bend one last time.

An easy victory

For Notre Dame, this game should be a breeze. For starters, Syracuse is one of the worst teams in the ACC. Standing at 1-8 in the conference and 1-9 overall, the Orange have had a tough season. To make matters worse, Syracuse will play Notre Dame with only a third of the team being available. With an offensive line that is already in shambles and an unstable quarterback, the Irish should be able to quickly dominate.

What is at stake

If the Irish win, they will be able to check off a few tasks. The first is extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 16 victories. The second is finishing off the regular season with an undefeated record. The third is Notre Dame will also continue the winning streak for home games, making it 24.

Senior Day

Not only will this game be meaningful to the entire Notre Dame football team, but it will be a time to celebrate and congratulate the seniors for their hard work and dedication throughout the years. Especially in a year like 2020, the Irish seniors have given a lot to the program and sure deserve a moment of appreciation. For Ian Book, he will finish out his career as one of Notre Dame’s finest quarterbacks. For Liam Eichenberg, he will be remembered as a great great leader for the offensive line. Although Book and Eichenberg have been memorable leaders, there are many credible seniors Notre Dame should be thankful for.

An advantage

There are many advantages to Notre Dame playing Syracuse as the final game. First, the Irish will be able to pull starters by halftime. The benefit to that is reducing injuries or any fluke accidents that could happen to star players, such as Book or Kyren Williams. Second, Notre Dame has the opportunity to add in new concepts and plays that will enforce more studying for Clemson leading up to the ACC Championship. Lastly, the Irish offensive line will have an extra game to work on improvements, as the roster had a significant change in the last two weeks.

Moving forward

As mentioned, Notre Dame will have a bye week next week before the ACC Championship. Already receiving an invitation before Clemson for the championship gives the Irish an incentive to work harder. Not only does this help Notre Dame maintain a spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, but the Irish have a bigger opportunity at hand. If Notre Dame wins the ACC Championship, it is golden for making the College Football Playoff. Maybe even more golden than Notre Dame’s helmets, but that is up for a later interpretation.

Photo by Grace Tourville | The Observer