3. Notre Dame matters even more now
The ACC has been the Big One, Little 13 over the last several years with Clemson the dominant force.
The conference was fun last season, and it’s going to be a blast this year, but it would take a colossal gag by the Tigers/a huge upset for any of the other 13 ACC teams to finally win this thing.
But there’s another school in the mix this time around.
Clemson was the preseason No. 1 team last season, but the only other ACC team in the rankings was Syracuse at 22.
This year? North Carolina is 19th and Virginia Tech 24th, but that’s it for the 25 after No. 1 Clemson. Notre Dame is No. 10, and it’s a part of the conference as a full-on member schedule-wise – and now the league has its No. 2 team.
Clemson actually has a top ten conference team to deal with, and on the road on November 7th in South Bend. It seems like a million years ago since it wasn’t the runaway obvious pick to win the ACC, but now the coaches have spoken, and the Irish are expected to be good enough to be that challenger.
Miami was eighth in the 2018 preseason rankings, and it went on to have a 7-6 season. Florida State was fourth in the 2017 preseason, and it also went 7-6. The Noles were also fourth in 2016, and they went a solid 10-3 but missed out on playing for the ACC title because it lost to Clemson.
Notre Dame is eligible to play for the ACC Championship and it’s able to go to the Orange Bowl as a member of the conference. With the top two teams in the 15-school ACC playing for the title, the importance of the Catholics vs. Clemson battle just became more real.
NEXT: The SEC and Big Ten are at it again