Listen to people talk and you’d never know that Notre Dame is 22-3 in their last 25 games with 7 wins over top 25 opponents.
Yes, the Clemson loss stings but Notre Dame is on the right path. Getting back to the College Football Playoff is attainable if the Irish can navigate the following games:
09/21 at Georgia
In 2017, the Irish had a chance to upset the 15th ranked Georgia Bulldogs in South Bend. But, a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal with 3:34 left in the game proved to be the game winner. Notre Dame blew two leads in the second half of the game. Freshman QB, Jake Fromm wasn’t a known entity at the time. He’s one now. The rising junior is 23-2 in regular season games.
With this being their highlight game early in the season, all eyes will be pointing to the late September date. But, the Irish need to watch the p’s and q’s. Prior to the UGA game, they go to Louisville and come how to New Mexico.
Winning those game and staying healthy will be a must.
10/26 at Michigan
Good news is, Notre Dame will have two weeks to prepare. Bad news is, they’ll be coming off a game with USC.
Last season, Notre Dame seemingly dominated the game but, in the end, they only won by seven. Brandon Wimbush was still the starter when that game took place so who knows what Michigan can take from that match up.
We’re still a long way out for the game but it could come down to Jim Harbaugh’s ability to trust his quarterback. If he doesn’t, the Irish know stopping the running game will be imperative. That could make the Wolverines get out of character.
This part of the Irish schedule could be challenging. Even after the Michigan game, Notre Dame will play Virginia Tech and go to Duke. Don’t laugh about the Blue Devils. They last time these two met, Duke came to South Bend and beat the Irish by 3 points.
11/30 at Stanford
A trip to Stanford could be the difference between a College Football Playoff/New Years Day Six Bowl or a bowl sponsored by an insurance company or something.
The trip to Stanford is always a tough one for the Irish. Notre Dame has lost their last five trips there.
The Irish could be facing rising senior, K.J. Costello at quarterback. Costello picked up steam near the end of the season. In the last three games, he threw for 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. It also seems like head coach David Shaw trusted him more as the season went on.
Against Notre Dame, Costello had just 27 pass attempts. After that, he didn’t attempt less than 29 until their bowl game against Pitt.