Notre Dame vs Clemson -13 (o/u 55)
Notre Dame played great football all season long to wake up the football ghosts of the past. While strength of schedule might be an issue with the experts, they did everything they had to do to keep racking up wins. Both the offense and defense were rock-solid. The offense ranked 54th in the nation for total offense with 456.1 YPG. They were led by the passing duo of Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush, who combined for 3,187 yards for 23 TDs and 12 interceptions. The rest of the supporting cast made this efficient offense work. On defense, the Fighting Irish covered the field very well, giving up only 331.5 YPG, 20th in the NCAA.
As good as Alabama appears to be, there are many FB experts who believe this Clemson team (13-0) is every bit as good as the Tide. Aside from a couple of close calls early in the season against good teams, Clemson walked through the competition. The offense, 11th in the nation with 529.8 YPG, was very very good. While QB Trevor Lawrence (2,606 YP/24 TDs/4 INTs) played solid ball all season long, it was RB Travis Etienne who carried a big load with 1,463 yards rushing and 21 TDs. Combined with fellow RB Ly-J Dixon, the two running backs averaged 8.8 yards a carry over 232 rushes. On defense, Clemson has been the nuts. They ended the season ranked #4 in total defense, giving up a little over 275 YPG. That includes being 3rd against the rush, allowing less than 93 YPG.
Prediction: It’s nostalgic to remember the great ND teams in history, but this is 2018. There’s a huge talent difference between these two teams and one has to wonder if Notre Dame is battle-tested enough to fight Clemson. The reality is the Irish might have trouble scoring. Clemson will not have that problem. The difference might be enough to lay the points under 14. Play Clemson -13