Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ever since their 30-3 loss to Clemson in the 2018 Cotton Bowl, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been under the radar for many people as far as returning to the college football playoff. Finishing off the previous season with a 11-2 record, Notre Dame is looking to make it back to the top.

These are the three biggest reasons why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are my dark horse for the upcoming 2020 college football season.

Ian Book

After coming off an impressive junior year throwing for just above 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns with just 6 interceptions, Ian Book has decided to come back to the Irish for his senior year. Book is the key to success for this offense this upcoming year, in my eyes Book is a top 5 quarterback in college football.

It all depends if he can live up to the expectations this year; if Book plays like he can, this offense will be scary. I fully expect Ian Book to be a Heisman candidate next year, so watch out for this Irish offense next year.

Believe it or not, this Notre Dame defense is very strong all around. When the average amount of points you allow in a game is 18, your defense is very solid. Notably, they have preseason All American candidate Kyle Hamilton, along with the leader in pass deflections for Notre Dame last season, TaRiq Bracy.

Look to this impactful secondary that they had last season to make an even bigger jump. With players like sophomore Isiah Foskey and senior Daelin Hayes in the trenches, along with dynamic playmaker in linebacker Owusu-Koramoah, this defense could be scary in the season upon us.

The schedule for Notre Dame for this upcoming season has the usual ups and downs, but with the talent that this football team possesses, I do not think that it will be a problem. When I look at the schedule for Notre Dame, I look at four games. They travel to a downgraded Wisconsin and then face Kedon Slovis and the Trojans in the Coliseum, along with two tough home games in the powerhouse of Clemson and an upgraded Louisville team.

Notre Dame can compete with all of these teams and also can end up even winning all four of these pretty tough games.

This is Notre Dame’s year to shock the world and they can most definitely do just that. Those reasons I believe give them a very good chance at getting into the College Football Playoff.

Photo: Matt Cashore