If there was a game that could completely shake up the 2018 College Football Playoff picture, it’s happening tonight at Yankee Stadium where the #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the #12 Syracuse Orange. Welcome to the most anticipated matchup of the season so far.
So what are the implications of this game between the #3 and #12 ranked teams?
There’s a lot.
As of right now, the College Football Playoff BRacket is made up of the top 4 ranked teams: #1 Alabama, #2 Clemson, #3 Notre Dame and #4 Michigan. The general consensus is the only way for this playoff picture to hold is for these four teams to win out, which is how rankings work. You’re welcome for that piece of hard-hitting journalism.
Defending National Champion #1 Alabama is almost a lock at this point, with their final three games being played against The Citadel
Below them, #4 Michigan needs to win out against Indiana and #10 Ohio State. If they do, they can potentially hold their spot at #4, but they need to beat Ohio State. If they beat Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, Jim Harbaugh takes the team out for Gelato. Hard fact right there.
#2 Clemson is in a similar situation as Alabama. With their final three games against Duke, South Carolina, and the undefeated TBD, Clemson is looking to lock down that two-seed sooner rather than later.
However, it’s because of Clemson that this game becomes interesting.
Clemson had two close calls this year, both coming early in the season in Weeks 2 and 5. Week 2 saw Clemson almost fall to the Aggies of Texas A&M, 28-26. After a late-game push from the Aggies, that saw them score 13 unanswered points, Dabo Swinney’s Defense was able to intercept a 2-point conversion to seal their close call victory in College Station Texas.
The second close call came against, you guessed it…
When Syracuse squared off against Clemson, the Orange were unranked, despite starting the season 4-0 for the first time since 1991. What we all thought would be another easy W for Clemson against an unranked team turned out to be a solid football game between the two teams.
This game should not have been close, but there we were with the unranked Syracuse up by 10 points with 11:14 left in the 4th. Clemson would go on to score 14 points in the fourth quarter to win the game 27-23.
It’s that kind of magic that is making Fighting Irish fans uncomfortable. And they have every right to be nervous. Weird things happen in the College Playoff picture.
Last year, Miami was ranked #3 in mid-November, while Georgia was on the outside looking in at #7. Miami would go on to lose their final two games to Pitt and, guess who, Clemson. Georgia would beat Georgia Tech and Auburn to advance to the Rose Bowl and then the National Championship Game against Alabama. Miami was left waiting for the Marlins to start Spring Training. Truly depressing stuff for Miami.
The year before that, it was Michigan, who missed out on a shot at the dance. Michigan was sitting in the three
In 2015, Notre Dame and Ohio State were in the top 4 mid-November and lost their seasons in the end, missing the playoffs.
And then in 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff, Mississippi State and Texas Christian University were in playoff spots at this point in the season only to drop the ball and miss out.
So there’s a lot riding on this game. If Notre Dame goes down, that would mean Georgia, Oklahoma or LSU could make a run towards a playoff spot. Hell, if things go absolutely nuts, Washington State might even get a shot! Wouldn’t that be something?
Regardless, of who you’re rooting for, tonight’s matchup should be a solid game between two good programs. Notre Dame is fighting for their playoff lives, while Syracuse is fighting to finally get on the College Football map and not just the College Basketball map. So, there’s a lot going into this one for both sides.
Also, the uniforms are FIRE.
Get hyped for this one, there hasn’t been a meaningful game played in Yankee Stadium since early October.
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