Notre Dame – Clemson Game Day Storylines: Playoffs Edition

The long wait for playoff football is almost over!  After a month of no Fighting Irish football to watch, Notre Dame is back in action today in the Cotton Bowl against Clemson in the College Football Playoffs.  To get you ready for kickoff we summed up the big storylines heading into today’s showdown.

Notre Dame is Around a 12 Point Underdog

The Irish have been a healthy double digit underdog since the odds opened on December 2nd and the line hasn’t moved a whole lot.  ESPN reported on Friday that the vast majority of the money that has been wagered on this game has been on Notre Dame which is a little interesting and worrisome.  Vegas is really good at making money so the fact that most of  the money has been placed on the Irish and the line hasn’t moved a whole lot could suggest that Vegas is pretty confident in the Tigers covering.

Depending on what service you look at right now, the Irish are between an 11.5 and 12.5 point dog at the moment.  The media is not giving the Irish much of a chance in this one either.  Hopefully Notre Dame used the underdog/disrespected card all throughout their bowl prep and are ready to prove everyone wrong.

Clemson star DT Dexter Lawrence is OUT for failed drug test

Clemson will be without three players today after they failed NCAA drug tests for having the same banned substance in their systems, but only one really matters and that is star DT Dexter Lawrence.  Lawrence is a projected 1st round NFL draft pick and All-ACC defensive tackle.  His presence will definitely be sorely missed by Clemson even though they can plug in another talented defensive lineman because it will mess up their normal DL rotations and take one more talented lineman off the field.

Ostarine is the substance that was presence in Lawrence’s drug test.  For those unfamiliar, it is currently on the banned substance list and has no approved uses by the FDA so it is not as simple as Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has been trying to make it seem to have in your system.

It is interesting that a bigger story has not been made of this since allegedly only 12 Clemson players were randomly tested and three of them failed the test for the same exact substance with both their A and B samples.

Lord Myron should return to action for Notre Dame

While Clemson is losing a defensive tackle, Notre Dame is getting one back most likely.  Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa broke his foot in week one against Michigan and has not played since.  The reserve DT should play today for the first time since then.  How much he plays and how effective he is after all that time off remains to be seen, but the Irish can get a good 15-20 snaps out of him today that will be a nice boost for the defensive line.

Jayson Ademilola and Micah Dew-Treadway have held their own backing up Jerry Tillery, but a lot was expected of Lord Myron this year in his reserve role.  Having him on the field today is a plus.  As an added bonus, because he has only played in one game this year, he can play today – and potentially next week if the Irish win – and still retain a year of eligibility with the new redshirt rules in college football.

Notre Dame should have a few other players who got healthy

On top of getting back Tagovailoa-Amosa, Notre Dame has had a few players who had some nagging injuries who should be fresh off of a month long rest.

  • Ian Book – He just seemed off the final two games after coming back from the rib injury
  • Jafar Armstrong – Missed multiple weeks with an infection in his knee and was just never the same after coming back.  He can be a real weapon for Notre Dame today if he’s back at full strength
  • Cole Kmet – Suffered a severely sprained ankle early in the season and was never the same.  Look for him to potentially help open up the middle of the field today.
  • Khalid Kareem – The SDE was nicked up all throughout the season but played through the bumps and bruises without missing any games.  A fresh Kareem was an absolute nightmare for Michigan week one.  Hopefully we get that Kareem out there today.
  • Drue Tranquill – Played through an ankle injury that looked so much worse than it turned out to be against Navy.  He also played most of the year with a broken hand.  Both injuries should be well in the rearview for him today.

Notre Dame might work in some new faces at wide receiver

Brian Kelly hinted that the Irish might introduce some new faces at wide receiver to get more speed on the field today.  That led to a lot of speculation that we may see the debuts of Braden Lenzy or Lawrence Keys.  Both freshman could add a speed element to the Notre Dame receiving corps that the Irish have been lacking this season.  How much either plays, if at all though still remains to be seen.  From the moment Kelly said it I was a bit skeptical just because it made no sense for him to reveal that as easily as he did.  College coaches hold those kind o things close to the vest usually.

If Keys or Lenzy remain on the sidelines, a couple names to look for are freshman Kevin Austin and sophomore Michael Young.  I don’t know if you can classify either a “burner” but both have good football speed and could come in handy today.  Austin and Young both had some big moments this year but neither was a consistent threat.

A year ago Young recorded the first touchdown of his career in the Citrus Bowl against LSU.  That could be Austin today.

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  1. Dismissing Kelly at this point isn’t likely to happen and though I have my criticisms of Kelly, I am not sure who out there would want to come coach at ND. I for one did not feel disappointed about the season, but, did feel disappointed by only seeing ND score 3 points in the game last night. I do think the talent level of disparity was showcased watching the 4 CFP teams and ND would be rated 4th of the 4 teams in depth & skill. I don’t see how that is going to change overall down the road for the program. The modern game has evolved so extensively that it appears ND has issue in evolving along with it as a program to be considered a decent contender, year in-year out. ESPN deliberately left out ND in its CFP advertisement and unfortunately, ND did nothing last night on the field to dissuade that kind of media dissing continuing. As a ND fan, I wish the team performed better in the bigger post season games they have or will appear in as a team. Under Kelly, it’s not only 0-3 in big post season games, it’s how the team has looked in those losses that is very consistent, getting their asses stomped and looking so unprepared. I thought they would have to have some breaks and execute flawlessly to beat Clemson, but, maybe I would feel differently if the score had been 30 to 27 or 30 to 23. I didn’t think putting only 3 points on the field would be the outcome offensively. I don’t have answers how to improve post season play in big games but apparently neither do the people being paid a large amount of money who should be providing those answers. It will be a long off season to ponder.

    1. Exactly. If we had showed up and made it a game then I would have been satisfied. Clemson is a good team but other poor teams in the trash ACC played them better than we did last night. What does that tell you? Our coaches are garbage. That’s what it says to me

  2. Well I’ve read the recent comments and reread the older ones. So it’s time to stop whining about the rain and start building an arc. Where’s your short list for head coach? I must have missed it. Who are you suggesting we make an offer to, just after dismissing a 12-1 coach?

    BGC ’77 ’82

  3. Some of you people sound like your pissed off at the Irish? What in God’s little green Earth did you expect? Did some of you actually believe that ND was going to win the big game? If you did, you must like having a mistress whip your little dongs. I, like most of you am a ND fan and have been for years but one thing I learned years ago is you can’t count on the Irish to win the big games period. I didn’t even watch the game because I knew what the results would be and if I’d of been in Vegas I would have bet against the Irish!

  4. Let’s just consider this: 2016: 4-8. 2017: 10-3. 2018: 12-1. In which direction would you say this program is moving? We got our asses kicked tonight. Sure. But Notre Dame went 12-1 with wins over Michigan, USC, and Florida State. The fact that so many people are calling that a disappointment is a testament to how far this program has come in the last 10 years. I remember people being ecstatic 10 years ago because we beat Hawaii to finish 7-6. But after going 12-1 it’s all doom and gloom because we lost to an elite team with a generational QB.

    Brian Kelly is 4-4 in Bowl Games at ND. Yes, he’s lost the big ones. But we were in the big ones.

    Notre Dame is one of the top programs in the country. We aren’t Bama. We aren’t Clemson. That sucks, because we should be. We should be at that level. We should always be at that level. But this program is now 22-4 in the past two seasons with a bowl win over LSU and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. All this pissing and moaning is pathetic. This is our second 12 win season under Kelly. We had two under Holtz. Kelly is not a great coach. But he’s by far the best coach we’ve had since Holtz. These are, by far, the best seasons we’ve had since Holtz. Maybe ND will find another legend to lead us back to the promised land. But can’t we be happy being dissapointed going 12-1?

    1. So Keith you are satisfied with 12-1 and not showing up to play in the biggest game of the year…..AGAIN

      Good for you snowflake

  5. 62 years old and once again very disappointed. Losing always hurts. Coming into this game I thought Clemson would win but Notredame would take them to the wire. Looking at this game a few things stick out to me. Number 1 NotreDames defense is pretty good. Not great not as good as Clemson or Alabama. The problem is the offense is nowhere close to championship level. Notredame has 1 grat skilled player Dexter Williams. I saw about 6 to 7 on Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma. Also you could tell watching this game that Clemson was the far better coached team.I dont know where Kelly got this reputation as a great offensive coach. In his 9 years at NotreDame he has failed to produce an unstoppabe offene capable of averaging 45 points a game.

  6. I can’t take anything away from this class. Bottom line they won 12 games this season. I don’t know exactly where they rank in difficulty of schedule but that’s hard to do.

    When it comes to the college playoff ND doesn’t stand a chance.

    Clemson puts absolute studs on the field. Studs. 6’3” linebackers that run 4.3 forty’s. 350lb defensive lineman. Freshman qb’s who play like veterans.

    Let’s not even talk about Bama. Forget it. There’s two teams in the county that have a shot a beating Bama. Clemson and Georgia.

    Notre Dame simply isn’t at that level athlete wise. Period.

    Look, these kids that played tonight earned the right to be there. They fought like hell and earned 12 victories. They beat some quality teams this year.

    The only way ND wins a national championship is if they can field a team that has top 100 talent consistently year after year. It’s time for ND to look at making adjustments to who they allow to enroll at the university.

  7. You know, I just keep going back to the fact that this loss is on the coaches, it’s as simple as that. I noted below I’ve watched this team all year. Are they elite? Well, we know the answer to that. But they were better than 3 damn points. We aren’t fielding 1 and 2 star recruits. Our players are better than 3 points. I don’t care what anyone says. With the players we have, we should have been able to make Clemson sweat.

    But instead, ND is embarrassed on national TV. This will give the committee all the ammo they need to leave a 12-0 ND team out next year under the right circumstances. A 12-1 Power 5 conference team will easily get the nod over ND after this debacle. A step in the right direction? Well how long does it take to get over the hump already?

    It goes back to a question I asked way back in 2016 after the Duke loss. Has CFB left ND behind? Are we at best an above average CFB team, capable of beating 90 to 95 percent of the teams out there on most days, but just outside that top 5 percent and unable to break through? Now if we were Purdue, we’d be elated with that kind of success. But we’re not, and I’m worried we just never will be. I’m really starting to think that the only schools that will ever win NC’s are the Alabamas and Clemsons of the world, basically mini NFL development teams, where in many cases academics is just a nuisance.

    Now, I’m not interested in seeing ND go down that road. I’m a ND fan precisely because they are not a mini NFL team. I have an NFL team I follow. I have 0 interest in another. I’m not saying ND needs to remain static. I always think changes can be made to make the team better. What I don’t want to see is ND change it’s character, to sacrifice everything it is for a NC. There is something special about ND. There’s nothing unique about Alabama, Clemson, Georgia or any of those teams really. In a few years it will be someone else. Maybe 5 years from now Texas will be the new elite powerhouse and maybe Alabama will be wondering what happened to it’s glory years that no one will be talking about anymore. Years ago it was Miami winning all the big games—does anyone really give a crap about Miami’s run now? But ND still gets talked about. There’s a reason there are so many ND haters out there.

    I don’t know where the answer lies. ND does get good, even great recruits. We put players in the NFL too. ND is better than 3 points. There’s something we’re missing. And I don’t think it lies with the players.

    1. Damian, there were three Elite quarterbacks competing in the playoffs tonight and unfortunately Ian book is not one of them. Kelly has not had an elite quarterback under his watch.

      1. And that’s on Kelly. He’s landed multiple 4 star QB recruits. He just can’t seem to develop them. He turned a 3 star Tommy Rees into an adequate QB. He wasted Deshone Kizer. Kizer went in the 2nd round of the NFL draft and Kelly had him competing with what’s-his-name-who-went-to-florida for snaps. Kelly either can’t evaluate QB talent, or can’t get the most out of QB talent. Too many 4 stars have washed out under his watch for it to be a coincidence. He said Jurkovec was the best QB in his class–so why wasn’t he playing against the true freshman who completely tore us up tonight? Kelly needs to get rid of Tom Rees (love the guy, though) and bring in someone who can develop QBs. Our defense was good enough tonight to keep us in that game if we would have had a top tier QB.

        That’s the one thing I miss about Weiss. QB play was legit. Maybe Weiss will come be QB coach for Kelly.

      2. I agree with Keith, and it’s something I’ve been complaining about for a while. Ever since Golson we’ve been hearing….’this is the perfect QB for BK’s system….this is the QB that’s going to win it all’ and what happens, they lose a big game, end up like Golson, like Zaire, like Wimbush, and maybe like Book someday, wondering where they’ll be playing next year as we turn the page to the next QB that’s going to win it all. I frankly don’t have confidence they’ll be able to develop Jurkovec any better. In 2 or 3 years we may be swooning over the next ‘big’ QB coming down the pike and wondering where Jurkovec will be going the next year.

        I’m really starting to believe it wasn’t EG, or Zaire or BW, or Kizer or Book. Maybe it’s coaching.

  8. So another big time bowl appearance with a drubbing. This seems to be a common theme. You know how these ND teams look like. They look like Mich teams coached by Bo S. who couldn’t win very many big bowl games in his time. This program is not playing on a level playing field with the upper eschelon teams in college football. It doesn’t matter history of ND football. College football today is such a different animal now I think some hard decisions require contemplation by ND Administration. Is putting an equal product on the field to be competitive ( AND MAKE THE ALMIGHTY FOLLAR) with the upper elites going to be a priority or focus more on being a Midwest upper Ivy League program. ND clearly does not have the “juice” to stay with one of the best teams. It wasn’t even close. Is it time to look at modifying or re-evaluating the type of student athlete will be allowed in for admission purposes. I know that may generate a lot of unfavorable responses but the current student athletes being allowed in for football are no where near the type and DEPTH of players the elite teams have on their rosters. If I keep showing up to a gun fight with a cap gun instead of a Glock, well, I think the outcomes of this will be pretty certain each time. I am not even going to focus on Kelly, who has never been my favorite as a coach, because frankly, this was just as much about quality of “ board pieces” than coaching. I am getting tired as a fan not seeing ND play worth a shit in a big game. I watched Ara, Dan , and Lou coached teams win big meaningful games. I know those times were different but ND just doesn’t seem to be able to adapt & adjust to the modern game today. I think some big decisions need to be made down the road. Question is, will those decisions be made. I question if they will be, which reinforces a mediocre product being fielded on the grid iron that will continue to occur.

    1. This program is a relic. A relic to a time when football wasn’t a ghetto banger trailer trash sport. I’d rather the program be that, rather than cave to gang bangers and their trashy fans that pepper the likes of the SEC, and the other southern teams.

      1. I get your point C-Dog. It’s just hard as a fan to see ND looking like a Ford Fusion drag racing Corvettes and Ferrari’s. A fusion can be reliable but it won’t beat ( most likely) a Vette in a race. I have to keep reminding myself it’s just a football game. The sun will rise tomorrow.

      2. Nemesis,
        I feel you too. What irks me is that the ghetto culture that we thought the Catholics versus Convicts defeated has actually won out. And to make it worse, those southern hicks think it’s acceptable to use athletes for the glory of the school or the confederacy or whatever, and then toss them to the curb without educating them. Dabo seems like a nice guy, but you really get a sense that he thinks using African American kids for his own good, and then tossing them to the curb for a future in janitorial services is ethical. God blesses him and all his evangelical buddies.

      3. I don’t know how I ended up on this site, but I have to say something. You speak about Dabo like you know him and his program.
        You obviously don’t. You said ” And to make it worse, those southern hicks think it’s acceptable to use athletes for the glory of the school or the confederacy or whatever, and then toss them to the curb without educating them. Dabo seems like a nice guy, but you really get a sense that he thinks using African American kids for his own good, and then tossing them to the curb for a future in janitorial services is ethical. God blesses him and all his evangelical buddies.”
        If you honestly believe that, you know nothing of the man or of the Clemson football program. He would rather grow his players into outstanding men, husbands, fathers and a good provider, and be a mediocre team than be a great team with students of no character. He has one of the highest graduation rates of any college. Yes, he is a great coach and yes he gets good players, but most of the time they are players of good character. He then shapes them into men, men that people are proud to be around. If you doubt that, read up on the man.Kids go there, some knowing they might not ever start, just because of him and his program. How many coaches can you say that of?

  9. Just incredibly disappointed in every way. First, a thrashing like this game pretty much wipes away any good feelings about going 12-0. You know why? Because 12-0 doesn’t mean jack when you lay an egg in the most important game of all. No one is going to remember 12-0 in 2018 20 years from now. I mean, my God, they scored more points against Alabama in the NC game back in 2013. This was even worse. And all it does is prove to the whole world that ND didn’t belong. If they lost 30-27 I would have been bummed and disappointed…I’m not big on moral victories, but at least you could say they showed up. But score just 3 points. WTF was that.

    I’m to the point I’ve lost any hope that ND will ever win a NC again. I wasn’t looking for a ‘told you so’ moment for BK. I really wanted to see ND win this game. If ND had won a NC under BK I would have been all smiles. I’ll even say he’s probably an above average coach. Duke, Vanderbilt, even a school on the level of Michigan State would probably love a BK like coach. You’ll win most of your games and even a decent bowl game now and again. But it just doesn’t look like to me he’s a NC caliber coach.

    Now they won’t fire BK. That’s a fact. They’ll probably see this as a step in the right direction. And back in 2012 I felt that way. We weren’t ready for Bama, but it seemed we were moving in a positive direction. But to me it seems we have maxed out under BK. I just don’t believe he can take us that final step. He can take us as far as the door, but for whatever reason, he can’t just step through it. And Bruce makes a good point, even if they fired him, who does ND get that can take the final step, AND is willing to coach at ND?

  10. Two or three turnovers, three or four dropped passes, three or four false starts…adds up to a 3 point offensive output…the “O” was not ready to play against this Clemson “D”. It was a bad ending to a great year. We can whine, or we can get back to work. Anyway, the small but vocal “fire Kelly” crowd will be heard from again…I wonder who they are recommending this time?

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. small but vocal? explain to me ONE thing brian kelly has done! can’t win a big game. blames everyone else for his ineptitude. overrated ass hat who has NEVER won a big game. but that is ok..u keep thinking brian kelly deserves this job..u tell declan sullivans family how great brian kelly is. u tell all the fans how he is 4 and 23 after trailing at halftime…u keep say how notre dame is a great leader in catholic higher education. i have never been so embarrassed in a university and administration in my life!!!

      1. OK, Seb, now that I just had bowl of crow Irish stew, maybe you will listen. For many, many years ND has been getting the 3 stars, everyone knows that. A few five stars in between. But, you know I look at the three out eleven ( Clemson) tested for drug abuse. And if the whole team were tested at that rate it would have been eleven at least. I had to suffer all game long listening to homer ESPAM radio announcers. I’m old, perhaps you’re not. But, I’ve seen them ( Florida States, Miami’s, USCs) all come and go. ☘️Notre Dame is like the NY Yankees always in the hunt. Now, Seb if you and others are serious about firing BK, there is always renting a old biplane with banner behind it. Oh, that was already tried this year by SoCal.

    1. SFR,
      I don’t think Notre Dame can compete unless the NCAA cleans up the real corruption in College football. Reece Davis talked about Notre Dame’s mid terms week affecting the Pitt game. His comment that mid terms are not known among too many D-I football programs says a lot. That 3 Clemson players were caught doping is also telling. Only three? I’d bet those three are scratching the surface, especially given the remarks by Dabo. Dabo acted like juicing with banned substances and getting caught is like having an injury.
      End of semester exams probably also put restrictions on the prep time. While official restrictions exist, if you have players do as much football homework as an engineer does, you’ll have incredibly prepped athletes….(not students, but athletes). I’m guessing the coaching staff is good to great, but they won’t stick around forever if they have to coach with such restrictions. And of course none of us wants ND to drop the academic standards.

      Currently the financial state of college football looks like this:

      Consider the debt schools like Bama, Oklahoma, Clemson and the like have. Debt that increases tuition and also burdens the tax payers of those states.

      Now that Notre Dame has lost big…..again, the conferences are going to band together to push the Irish out. The SEC, Big Ten, and to some degree the other conferences want football to not have a conscious, but to influence fans to accept the money machine without ethical restrictions.

      No, D-I football is not compatible with ND’s values.

      1. I agree with you C-Dog, but it’s not going to happen. CFB makes way too much money for the powers that be and the status quo. And yeah, the conferences are going to try to squeeze ND out in the future. Already OSU and Georgia fans are mocking ND. How long do you think it will be before ND is treated like UCF. Going undefeated next year may not be enough if there are a number of 1 loss teams. This is going to give ammo to the anti-ND institutions out there. Maybe Georgia and OSU are better teams, I don’t know. But then maybe Georgia shouldn’t have lost TWO games, and maybe OSU shouldn’t have gotten their heads handed to them by Purdue. I have no sympathy for them. But ND did no favors by failing to show up AGAIN. And there was no reason for it, none. The coaches let us down again.

        I’ve watched these players all freakin year. Now maybe they weren’t good enough to beat Clemson, maybe. But there is no excuse, NONE, for them getting blown out like we were fielding nothing but 2 star players. We have the players to at least make a game of it, to challenge Clemson. That’s why I blame coaching. No excuses.

  11. HA HA..brian kelly and notre dame sucks! he is now 4 and 23 in games trailing at halftime. that says he sucks as a headcoach. but nearly everyone on the website thinks he is great. got news for ya. 12 and 0 beating no one and rated # 3. and getting smoked by clemson proves that brian kelly is an overrated asshat of a football coach. i have said it for years: fire brian kelly, fire jack swarbrick, fire jenkins!!!!

    1. Agree Sebastian

      I gave him a lot of credit for the changes made the last two seasons but to not show up for another big game when quote “best team he’s ever had at ND” truly says a lot about him. Even if we run the table next year I won’t be excited because it’s a Brian Kelly coached team.

  12. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. My hats off to this Notre Dame football edition, They achieved a lot further than expected. They are Notre Dame Fightin Irish, always will be.

    1. Biplanes don’t work…obviously brian has pictures of the AD in embarrassing situations…he is the MOST OVERRATED coach around…fire his ass. i don’t care who u get, but u have to admit, when it comes to big games he sucks out loud! enjoy 12 AND 0 or 11 and 1. but when u lose no one gets a trophy or parade for being rated #3. 4 and 23 while trailing at halftime..enough said

  13. Quite a disappointing performance by the team today. Unfortunately, this will re-confirm naysayers & haters that ND doesn’t belong in games like these that carry meaning, and maybe they are not off-base in that assessment. It’s been since 1994 that ND won either a major bowl or significant bowl. It will be a long winter-spring-summer in 2019. Just a terrible way to not show up today and the season to end this way.

  14. What an embarrassment. Book exposed playing like a true three star looking scared to death. All coaches exposed. Love being a pussy not playing and Vaughn getting burned over and over and over while Love just watches from the sidelines. It really blows being an ND fan sometimes. We will be another UCF going forward until there are 8 teams. Only way we will get in again. Why isn’t Jurkovec playing right now to get the experience. Book played over his head against trash teams. Let’s be honest. 2nd half of the season stats were garbage.

      1. Hey GregI was just curious if you were available today so I can let my supple tongue run up and down your inner thigh. Would love to pluck a matted shrub off those puppies, whilst my curious fingers make their way inside that day hole. #ThinkAboutIt

  15. ND is a football relic that will become increasingly irrelevant as the decades go by! The ND administration needs to decide how important football is or isn’t. Right now ND can’t compete at the elite level.

  16. Think I’ll go billboard crash and join Jeanette and watch the game up there. Seriously, I am stranded here in frozen wasteland 44 degrees latitude and I’m going to see if I can pick up the game via my old crystal radio. To cold to go outside and rush in a dive sports bar. SFR, NDCM, Jeff And newby Damian, I’ll be counting on you all to give blow by blow reports from battle site. GO GO IRISH☘️☘️☘️???

      1. ESPAM is who is cheap here. I was trying to concentrate watching Va. ( opponent next year) vs. South Carolina on freebie tv. The announcers including Rocky Boiman were all promoting the Notre Dame/ Clemson war coming up for ESPAM. So desperate for viewers they have to resort to free tv and billboard stunts to advertise.
        Josh, I would come over, however I am house ridden due to health difficulties. Thank you for the offer.

      1. I found SEC, I mean ESPAM network on radio. My Wife has it on iPhone, delayed at least a play. ZIPP unloads his limited obscene vocabulary in these big games, don’t you know.

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