Notre Dame +11.5 3.3% play
These are two similar teams with similar strength of schedules that are not great SOS's. Their opponent YPP differential are both -.225 & -.26. Notre Dame in my opinion had the slightly tougher schedule with their travel situation which featured 2 west coast trips, and having Michigan to start the year.
The ACC, the conference that Clemson plays in was down this year. They have looked great in games against the group of 5, but against Power 5 Conferences the ACC is 0-3 with losses of 32, 24, and 16 points. The two games Clemson stepped out of conference play were against 2 SEC opponents, and they gave up 510 and 600 yards. Speaking of the SEC, Notre Dame last year beat LSU in their bowl game, and lost to Georgia by only 1 point. I think this is just far too many points and the line should be around 7-8 points.
Both teams lean on their run, but will need to lean on their QB play at some point to win this game, and when we look at what each pass defense has done against top 60 passing offenses there is no question Notre Dame played better. They both played 3 top 60 passing offenses. Clemson played an average opponent passing offense in ranking 32.6 in QBR in those 3 games, and allowed 378 yards/game and 8 TD and 3 INT's. Notre Dame comes into this game ranking 24th. Notre Dame's defense faced 3 top passing offenses ranking on average 22nd, and Notre Dame allowed just 249.6 yards per game, 2 TD and 3 INT's. So why is Clemson heavily favored? I think it's perception, and the fact that the last time Notre Dame was in a spot like this they got kicked off the field by Alabama in 2012 losing 42-14.
These two teams have 4 common opponents i Wake Forest, Syracuse, Florida State, and Pitt. Clemson was an impressive +275 yards per game, and outscored them 191-46. While Notre Dame +168 yards per game and outscored them 153-57. That difference of 107 yards equates to 9 points for Clemson's offense and just 5.57 points for Notre Dame's defense when we factor in yards per point. Notre Dame also has edges in special teams, and TO margin ranking which should factor in this game. I know the public seems to be on the Irish, but I think Clemson could be looking past this game a bit to Alabama. That sounds like crazy, but these kids know they are DD favorites, and want Alabama badly. They also have player 3 player suspensions leading up to this game. At the end of the day I think Notre Dame who is being over looked will have a shot to win this game if they play their best game.
Subscribe on iTunes