The matchup between Clemson and Notre Dame in South Bend will be one of the biggest of the entire 2020 season (Photo by USAToday Sports)
247 Sports recently released what they think are the top 20 games for the upcoming 2020 season. The Clemson at Notre Dame matchup in November is listed at number three on the list. At number one is Ohio St at Penn St, and number two is the regular season matchup between Georgia and Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
For a while now, the Clemson schedule is something the media often brings up. The schedule talk, and what is thought to be a lack of strength, reached a fever pitch in 2019.
“Clemson’s weak schedule finally gets a boost in the form of a tough road game at Notre Dame,” Marcello said. “A team I believe will be in contention for the College Football Playoff heading into November. Notre Dame just needs to knock off Wisconsin earlier in the season at Lambeau Field.”
When looking at the teams themselves, one of the positives seen for the Fighting Irish is the fact that their star quarterback will be back.
“Ian Book is back at quarterback for Notre Dame after throwing 34 touchdowns against only six picks,” Marcello said. “And he’ll have his entire offensive line back to protect him this fall, too. The defense should once again be strong (particularly at linebacker),after holding teams to 17.9 points per game last season.”
As for the Tigers, there’s definitely no drop off from last season, and it’s not hard to see that. Especially when you look at the players Clemson has coming back on both sides of the ball, plus the star freshmen coming in this year.
“Clemson is well… Clemson,” Marcello said. “The only weakness is the offseason loss of top receiver Justyn Ross, who may never play football again after a spinal deformity was discovered on an X-Ray.”
The Tigers also have, arguably, the best quarterback in college football going into the 2020 campaign. That makes it hard pick against Clemson, and easy to see why the Tigers are considered a double digit road favorite already.
“Quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be a frontrunner for the Heisman, alongside Ohio State’s Justin Fields,” Marcello said. “And the Tigers’ defense might be the best yet under coordinator Brent Venables, This might very well be a playoff worthy game in the regular season.”
This matchup will be huge for Clemson in more ways than one. First, is due to the perceived weakness of the ACC. Improvement is expected, but no one knows how strong it will be this season. Then add in the fact that everyone is expected to still be dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are many unknowns.
While the casual fan will be hoping for a close and entertaining game, most Tiger fans will be hoping for one just like the last time the two teams played. On that night, Clemson throttled the Irish 30-3 in the 2018 Cotton Bowl, on their way to their third National Championship in school history.