Notre Dame has an opportunity on Saturday to (almost) completely turn the 2022 season around when the Clemson Tigers come to South Bend. Dabo’s boys are ranked #4 in the college football playoff rankings, so an Irish win would absolutely alter the national championship picture — but more than that — Notre Dame can show that its losses to Marshall and Stanford are behind them, and the program is moving forward and improving in Marcus Freeman’s first year as the Irish head coach.
That’s what a win can do... so they should just do that.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Notre Dame is a 3.5 point underdog with an OVER/UNDER of 44.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Now it’s time for the OFD Staff to unleash their own picks. More still may roll in throughout the day. Here are a few thoughts from The Emperor’s Elite Pick-Em Force:
We almost wish the Irish could play this game in white jerseys or maybe play this at St. Joe High’s field just down Notre Dame Avenue so that they play away from home. But forget that! I’m perpetually sick of Dabo, and the Irish have been playing up to competition. In a nod to the euphoric 2020 game, the Irish win this one 27-20 in one OT this time. More Estime at fullback, please and thank you.
Looking at this game I’ve jumped back and forth all week on how I think it’s all going to go down. I will say I think Notre Dame does have more than just a chance. I believe this team under the right circumstances has the makings to beat Clemson. On top of that, the narrative of first year coach Marcus Freeman and the Irish upsetting the #4 Clemson Tigers in front of their home crowd in primetime is so so juicy. Especially with how this season started. However, I keep having to talk myself down because I still do not fully trust this team (offense). If the weather report holds up this is going to be a slug fest and it could be ugly. Both these teams strength’s are in their backs and the defensive units as a whole. I honestly think this could be a first to 20 deal. If the weather report clears up expect maybe some more points but for now I’m going to say Clemson 21 Notre Dame 20. Like I said, I think Notre Dame has more than just a chance. Watch out for a shot to win it late.
I was there as a student when Notre Dame beat Clemson in 2020. I watched in semi-disbelief as Kyren Williams opened the game with a 65-yard touchdown run and no flags were thrown. I marvelled at how Notre Dame forced overtime in spite of going 59 game minutes between offensive touchdowns. I was squished against the wall as we students prepared to storm the field after Daelin Hayes piggy-back-sacked D.J. Uiagelelei. And then I ran shirtless around the Notre Dame Stadium turf, a green hockey jersey tied around my neck and a green morph suit tucked under my shorts.
It pains me to say that I don’t think anyone will be recreating my experience this Saturday. A good Irish run game and Michael Mayer can’t overcome a stout Tigers defense alone, and predicting a sudden emergence from the Irish wideouts is foolish. It’ll probably be ugly on both sides, but the more balanced offense should prevail in front of a sold out crowd (at least 35% of which will be orange). FINAL SCORE: Clemson 24, Notre Dame 20
I missed out on the opportunity to bet on an Irish upset last week, and I don’t intend to miss again. Given the weather conditions and offensive strengths of both teams I’m predicting a physical, low-scoring, ugly battle all night. If both trench units for the Irish can play to their potential though, the Irish should be able to move the ball a bit more than the Tigers given their stronger offensive line. Damn the torpedoes, give me the Irish 20-16.
You guys know me — every fiber of my being is screaming for me to declare “BELIEVE IN SOMETHING” and “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE CLOSE” about this game, especially because I DO think this is one of the weakest overall Clemson teams in the last 7 years (excluding 2021) and because the weather might help make the game a bit of a rock fight. However, Clemson’s defensive front terrifies me (especially considering how one-dimensional ND’s offense is), and this weirdo Irish team has been much worse at home than in road/neutral games. I just don’t trust the Irish to pull this off, as much as I want to. Thus, I regret to inform you that my prediction is for Clemson to win 30-17, and I hope I’m very wrong.
As much as I would love to pick an Irish upset this weekend I just haven’t seen anything that makes me think that’s possible. If the Notre Dame team that handled BYU and Syracuse shows up then we should get an entertaining game. If it is the Notre Dame team that lost to Marshall and Stanford then this game will be over early. We’ll see which Irish team shows up.