Can Notre Dame lose in the ACC title game and still get into the playoffs?
It’s starting to seem that way after the second-ranked Fighting Irish knocked out No. 10 North Carolina by a 31-17 count on Friday.
The Irish have two regular-season games left — at home vs. Syracuse and then on the road against Wake Forest. Winning both is expected, and that would mean an 11-0 record heading into the ACC title game, presumably against Clemson.
At this point, just getting to the ACC title game should be enough to keep a top-four ranking, as OutKick’s Clay Travis tweeted.
Basically, all the Irish have to do is avoid a letdown. And with their defense has looked, you have to think that’s entirely possible.
At least, the defense got its act together in the second half, after giving up a big throw and long run.
But in the end, the Irish held the Tar Heels to a season-low in total offense (298 yards), passing yards (211) and rushing yards (87). North Carolina also recorded just 14 first downs, also its least of the year.
Notre Dame was particularly great after halftime, when it stymied North Carolina to zero points on just 78 yards of total offense.
As for the offense, quarterback Ian Book finished 23-of-33 passing for 279 yards and a touchdown. Running back Kyren Williams added 124 yards and two scores on 23 carries.
Add it all up, and yes, the Irish may have already secured a spot in the College Football Playoff.