GoodYear Cotton Bowl: Clemson vs. Notre Dame College Football Playoff Semifinal fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, December 29th
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Clemson (13-0) vs. Notre Dame (12-0) Game Preview
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Cotton Bowl
– It’s history everywhere. It’s the first time a team outside of the Power Five has been able to break through and get into the College Football Playoff, and it’s also the first time two unbeaten teams have plays in the semifinals.
It’s the first Cotton Bowl for Clemson since taking out Boston College in the 1940 version. For Notre Dame, it’s the eighth time in the bowl game, even if the others were in a different venue. The 1979 Joe Montana “chicken soup” comeback win over Houston was the most famous, but the last time the program made an appearance was in the 1994 campaign beating Texas A&M.
There’s still a bit of a “prove it” element with Notre Dame. It earned its right to be here by going unbeaten against a solid schedule, taking down eight bowl teams not including Navy, Florida State and USC.
It hasn’t always been pretty, and it hasn’t always been impressive, but the Irish marched on week after week, starting out with the 24-17 slugfest over Michigan. This is a battle-tested team with five games decided by eight points or fewer.
The Irish can absolutely fire out the “no one believes in us” line, but that might change in a hurry if the offense keeps on rolling like it did after replacing QB Brandon Wimbish with Ian Book, and after RB Dexter Williams got over his four game suspension.
– Out of the 12 games against FBS this season, Clemson has faced 11 who went bowling, and the two that didn’t were Florida State and Louisville. However, the one really good team it faced was Texas A&M on the road, and that was way too much of a struggle in a 28-26 win.
The rest of the wins are strong, but the Tigers are lacking that one true killer victory. Notre Dame beat Michigan. Alabama took out Georgia and LSU. Oklahoma doesn’t really have one, either, but beating Texas twice wasn’t bad.
A third national championship appearance in four years would be beyond special. It’s not just that Dabo Swinney was able to come up with the accomplishment – if it happens – but he was able to do it with a bit of a turnover from the one that won it all two years ago. There’s no Deshaun Watson this time.