The No. 3 Clemson Tigers and No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish clash in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 pm ET at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Clemson is entering this game at 10-point favorites.
Notre Dame’s First-Ever Conference Championship
In the 133 year history of the Notre Dame football program, they did not play a single conference game. That is until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and they joined the ACC on a one-year hiatus from conference independence.
This provides the Fighting Irish a unique opportunity to use a conference title win to vault them into the College Football Playoff.
Rematch For The Ages
Notre Dame knocked off Clemson earlier this season, 47-40 in double overtime in South Bend. The monstrous asterisk on that game is Heisman Trophy candidate and future No. 1 overall pick quarterback Trevor Lawrence did not play due to contracting COVID-19.
Lawrence will play in this game, and he’s once again the favorite to take home the Heisman. If he can knock off Notre Dame, his odds will improve that much more.
Notre Dame Looking For Upset
You wouldn’t think the unbeaten team and ranked No. 2 in the nation would go into their conference championship game as the underdog, but here we are.
The Fighting Irish were only +5.5 point underdogs in the first game against Clemson. This time it’s near twice that at +10.
If the Fighting Irish are to double down on their upsets of Clemson in the same season, they’re going to need another big game from star quarterback Ian Book.
Book threw for 310 yards with a touchdown and ran for another 68 yards in the first go-round. They’re going to need a bit more out of him this time if he’s going to outduel Lawrence.
Clemson Comes in Healthy
One could argue the only reason Clemson isn’t unbeaten is because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They lost many key players, including Lawrence, for the first game against Notre Dame.
Lawrence is the straw that stirs the Clemson offense. He comes in having tossed 20 touchdowns to just three interceptions and scrambled for an additional six touchdowns on the ground.
Lawrence should feast on the Notre Dame defense and further strengthen his Heisman candidacy.
The Pick Is In
Clemson will be seeking revenge in this one and have their sights set on the biggest prize, the College Football Playoff Championship. If they lose this game, they may lose that opportunity and not be selected.
I have Clemson covering the 10-point spread and winning the game against Notre Dame, 43-28. Lawrence is the difference-maker, and he will make up for the overtime loss that the Tigers had earlier this season.
Coach Dabo Swinney will get another ACC Championship.
The Pick: Clemson -10
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