Yesterday, the ACC officially announced that Notre Dame will be included in their conference-only schedule for the 2020 college football season, leaving many people wondering how this will affect the landscape of the conference’s football season.
Yes, this agreement makes the Irish eligible to play for the conference championship, but how will it affect the rest of the ACC? Here’s what you should expect to see from the conference as a result of Notre Dame’s presence for this fall:
First off, Clemson will still most likely play in the conference championship game, but the Tigers’ path to that game will be more difficult. As a result of Notre Dame joining the ACC, Clemson will now have to play at South Bend in 2020.
This will likely be the Tigers’ most challenging game of the season, with standout QB Ian Book at the helm of the Irish’s offense. Book has been consistently ranked as a top 10 QB in the country for 2020, and while he isn’t nearly as talented as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, he will at least provide a challenge for Clemson’s defense.
If Clemson is able to stop Book and win this game, they’ll most likely clinch an automatic bid to be in the conference championship game.
But what about the rest of the conference?
Since conference divisions have been eliminated for the 202o season as part of this recent announcement, the overall top 2 teams in the conference will meet in the ACC Championship.
Previously, the story of this offseason has been the Coastal’s 3-way race for the division title in North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Miami. However, those 3 teams will all have to get through Notre Dame if they want a shot at playing in the conference championship game.
As a result of the Irish now being the only other top 20 nationally ranked team in the ACC besides Clemson, Notre Dame will most likely finish at #2 in the ACC standings by the end of the regular season.
One game to watch out for that could impact Notre Dame’s place in the championship is their game at North Carolina.
Besides the conference championship conversation, don’t expect anything more significant to happen because of Notre Dame’s presence. Teams like Georgia Tech and Duke will most likely finish at the bottom of the standings, but Notre Dame’s presence will still have a huge impact on the ACC’s season.
Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio / Associated Press