The Irish are in the College Football Playoffs! Notre Dame locked up the No. 3 spot and will matchup with the No. 2 Clemson Tigers in a semi-final game in Dallas, Texas. Mark your calendar for December 29, 2018. Opposite Notre Dame and Clemson will be No. 1 Alabama taking on No. 4 Oklahoma down in Miami, Fla. I don’t envy the job of the college football playoff committee leaving out the likes of Georgia and Ohio State must have been difficult. Take it to the bank that a 6 or 8 team playoff will be coming in recent year. Regardless, the teams are set, and it’s anyone’s championship trophy at this point. Will Notre Dame or Oklahoma play the spoiler? Or will yearly powerhouses Clemson and Alabama continue their steamrolling over the rest of the collegiate football landscape?
Following the announcement, head coach Brian Kelly said, “This is what we work for.” Would this 12-0 season have happened without the 4-8 season just three years ago? I vote no. With Kelly’s sweeping changes and alterations to the staff and the culture, it’s paid off. And, it’s no secret that within the national landscape, it’s either love or hate for the Irish. Although Notre Dame ran the table with a regular season 12-0, many pundits felt the lack of a conference championship should have crippled Kelly & Co.’s chances of making the final four. It’s nothing new, though, and Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill knows full well. Nobody likes Notre Dame,” Tranquill said after the selection show. “That's just the reality of it. If you're not at Notre Dame you don't like Notre Dame." It’s been six years since Notre Dame was last in the hunt for a national championship, although technically all the 2012 wins were vacated due to NCAA sanctions, and once again have a difficult hill to climb. The beat down by Alabama in the national championship game has left a sour taste in the mouth of many Irish fans. Will 2018 be different? Notre Dame will likely have to unseat two of most dominant collegiate programs in Clemson and Alabama. And while the task seems nearly impossible, this year’s team has proven doubters wrong all season long. Are you buying in? The Irish open as 11.5 point underdogs. See you in Dallas? GO IRISH!