College Football – Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds To Make CFP in 2020

Written by:
Phil Simon
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Notre Dame proved that an independent can make the College Football Playoff by qualifying last year. It took a perfect record go get there and the likelihood of the Fighting Irish running the table again is remote. That’s why Brian Kelly’s squad has long odds to make it back. They were a longshot last year and defied the odds, and Kelly has put together a solid foundation with consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the early 1990s.

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The Irish caught a few breaks last season with a few teams looking better at the beginning of the season than they actually were. They had to win those games and the Irish did, thanks to a sparkling performance from quarterback Ian Book, who took over early in the year. The offense performed well with him at the helm and the hope is that he continues his upward trajectory to become one of the finest in college football. Notre Dame will field a very good team in 2019, but there is no margin for error and the schedule has a few defeats on it.

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Notre Dame to make 4-team playoff

Yes +580

No -950

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2019 Season Preview

The road to the CFP is more difficult for an independent. The Irish proved last season that they can overcome that obstacle putting together a perfect regular season only to get hammered by Clemson in the Cotton Bowl semifinal. That loss brought out all the Notre Dame haters saying they are overrated. That loss didn’t look so bad when Clemson won the national title with a 28-point victory over Alabama.

What makes me think the Irish don’t get back to the CFP is their schedule. They almost have to go undefeated to have a legitimate shot and with no conference affiliation there are some difficult games on the slate. The biggest matchups are against Georgia and Michigan, two CFP hopefuls who see this as a way to pad their resume. Those games are both on the road, making Notre Dame’s chances even slimmer.

The switch to Book early in the season gave Notre Dame’s offense the boost it needed to compete for a national championship. Book completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 2,628 yards and tossed at least two scoring passes in every regular season start. Over the final nine regular season games the Irish averaged over 37 points per game. Book showed he could handle average defenses, but he was silenced by Clemson’s top-tier group in the semifinal completing just half his throws for 160 yards with a pick in the 30-3 loss.

There are several big-time producers on both sides of the ball who need to be replaced. The pipeline of talent is deep and Notre Dame will field a solid squad. But it’s a team that’s not going to run the table and that’s what leaves the Irish out of the playoff in 2019.

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2019 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule

Week 1: at Louisville Cardinals

Week 2: OFF

Week 3: New Mexico Lobos

Week 4: at Georgia Bulldogs

Week 5: Virginia Cavaliers

Week 6: Bowling Green Falcons

Week 7: USC Trojans

Week 8: OFF

Week 9: at Michigan Wolverines

Week 10: Virginia Tech Hokies

Week 11: at Duke Blue Devils

Week 12: Navy Midshipmen

Week 13: Boston College Eagles

Week 14: at Stanford Cardinal

It is Notre Dame and the expectations are always up there. To crack the CFP as an independent the schedule has to have enough noteworthy games, and the Irish certainly have their share. Winning them all is a possibility, but critical matchups at Georgia and Michigan should give the Irish at least one loss. If they somehow get by those two powerhouses, there’s always an improved USC and Stanford on the slate, as well as matchups with decent ACC squads Virginia, Virginia Tech and BC.

Let’s face it the Irish caught a break on the schedule last season and that’s not happening in 2019. They are good and another double-digit win season is in the offing, but getting back to the CFP just isn’t going to happen.

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- Phil Simon, Special Contributor (Article Courtesy of

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