ACC, College Bowls, FBS Independents, Power Five

2018 Cotton Bowl Notre Dame v Clemson CFP Semi Final

2018 Cotton Bowl Notre Dame v Clemson CFP Semi Final

Five Minutes Spare College Football


2018 Cotton Bowl ACC v Independent

The 2018 Cotton Bowl Notre Dame Fighting Irish v Clemson Tigers is the first of the CFP Semi-Final games and this will be the Tigers sixth consecutive NY6 Bowl appearance, and their 4th consecutive playoff appearance. Notre Dame are making their first appearance in the new playoff system and were last in the National Championship back in 2013 losing to this year’s potential finals opponents Alabama. The Odds Makers have Clemson huge favourites, however, a look at their relative performances makes us think it could be closer.

Clemson went undefeated 13-0 and only Texas A&M (28-26) & Syracuse who gave them all sorts of problems – leading 23-13 in the fourth before succumbing 27-23. The rest were blowout wins of one form or another including a mighty impressive 63-3 win at Wake Forest – who won a thrilling Birmingham Bowl and a 77-16 canter against Louisville. They rounded off an impressive season with a 42-10 win over Pittsburgh in the Conference Championship.

Norte Dame has flown below the radar a bit this season and although we had them as our number five pre-season team most of the commentators expected them to be bowl eligible but not a whole lot more. Anyway, when looking at their schedule it was a pretty impressive one. They finished 12-0 (no conference final for independents) and the wins included Michigan, Stanford & also Syracuse 36-3. They played some other common opponents – Pittsburgh, Wake Forest & Florida State, and although ND’s wins against them were not as impressive they did handle Syracuse with ease.

Clemson was mighty impressive bothy sides of the ball with the 3rd ranked offence and 4th ranked defence, while Notre Dame came in at a not too shabby 27th & 21st. However what the Fighting Irish showed was an ability to battle exemplified in their slugfest with Pittsburgh where they couldn’t get the running game going and had a +2 turnover deficit but still managed to pull off the win.

Full disclosure here I am a bit of a Notre Dame fan ever since watching the West Wing and I am probably writing with more heart than head, however, I think that 12.5 points to Clemson is a huge spread. It should be much closer and I am predicting a big upset.

Our prediction is for Notre Dame to win 28-26

For those who like to keep track of these things, we are 13-11 so far in our predictions – not too good after starting 6-1

Image Credit squarelogo/Shutterstock

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