What does Notre Dame football look like in the ACC?

notre dame football

A New Beginning

For the first time, Notre Dame football will be joining the ACC for the 2020-2021 college football season. In the past, the Fighting Irish have remained independent. Some may view this as arrogance, while others see this as a representation of power. Regardless of the opinion, there is no way to avoid the presence of Notre Dame in college football. I am curious to see how ND holds its national platform in the conference.

The Prediction

The ACC is made up of 15 teams. Notre Dame is scheduled to play 11 games, all featuring ACC competitors except for one non-member South Florida. Many teams in the ACC faced Notre Dame before. For example, Louisville, Duke and Boston College played ND in the 2019 season and are matched up to play again this year. Do I see there being any close, nail biting games between such competitors? The short answer is no. I predict Notre Dame will be 10-0 until their matchup with Clemson.

The Biggest Threat

Clemson, being one of the powerhouses of the South, has only played Notre Dame a total of four times. The last time the Tigers traveled to South Bend was in 1979. More recently, the last time these two teams played each other was in the 2018-19 College Football Playoff. Both teams were undefeated until then and were looking for a spot in the national championship. The results favored Tigers fan, as Clemson went on to beat ND, then Alabama for the title.

Back to present day, Notre Dame’s biggest focus should be on the Tigers. With Ian Book and Trevor Lawrence in the running for the Heisman, this will be a significant game for them to show their leadership abilities off the field, as well as physical abilities on the field. A close game, my prediction is Clemson will pull through. Winning 28-21, Clemson will go on to be undefeated and win the ACC.

ACC and Notre Dame

Besides the on field action, what will it look like behind the scenes? How will ND’s brand be affected now that they are tied to a conference? For now, ND has only agreed to compete this season under the conference. A majority of the reason for this can be linked to the uncertainty happening in the world right now. At one point, it seemed as if college football was a very distant memory and many were unsure when it would be back. When the Big Ten and Pac-12 pulled out in early August, it was for Notre Dame’s best interest that they had committed to the conference in late July. Already having over half ACC teams on the schedule before the conference change, the transition moving into this new season will not be a challenging one.

It will be interesting to see how the Irish benefits from sharing NBC and ACC broadcast revenue with the 15 other teams. Being independent for so many years, this is absolutely a different feel for them. As of now, the move to the conference seems as if it will financially benefit Notre Dame. Time will only tell.

A possible downside to joining the ACC? Tradition. Without Navy and USC, Notre Dame’s season will look different. There is no doubt rivalries are an extremely important part of college football. Without said competitions, the Irish will have to find a way to keep their name on top.

Photo courtesy of The Observer