Born and raised in Indiana, I grew up a Notre Dame hater. So I was never a Notre Dame apologist.
I have to say though that coach Kelly's post game comments carried some weight with me. Kelly is a very accomplished coach, 2 time AP coach of the year and the list of coaching awards is long. There is a lot of talent that he would like to get to come to Notre Dame but can't, mainly because of higher academic standards at Notre Dame but he knows football talent.
So when he said he didn't see much athletic talent difference between his team and Clemson, I think he is not completely wrong. So I don't believe Notre Dame is a total fraud but I don't believe they were the 4th best team in the country either. Maybe top 12 to 15.
What I do believe is that this year Clemson's defense was one of the best college DEFENSIVE teams of all time; by the end of the year. By the time the playoffs came around, that defensive unit had worked out all of the bugs and issues they had gone through during the season and were clicking on all cylinders. They are a very young team and a lot of the young players were making a lot of assignment mistakes during the season. By the end of the season all of those mistakes were corrected, Dabo is a very good coach, the young guys improved with experience and they were rockin'. Their defense completely shut down Notre Dame's offense and I believe Note Dame's quarterback completely wilted under the pressure.
He looked absolutely awful and it was clear he was not up to the pressure of that game; that was the one area where there was a big talent difference. He looked completely lost, inept and looked like a scrub. I couldn't believe how badly he played.
So is Notre Dame a total fraud, no. Did they belong in the playoffs, no. If they play an SEC schedule, they lose 2 to 3 games; at least. So Notre Dame is a top 15 program and if they had a stud quarterback, blew everybody on their schedule out by 30+ points a game I'd consider them for the playoffs.
When you beat Ball State, a mid size college in central Indiana, a team that won 4 games, at home and you only win 24-16, you got no business in the playoffs. When you look at their schedule and you see who they beat and the scores by which they won, there is no way in hell that team makes the playoffs.
The only comparison game is Syracuse and Syracuse's starting, senior quarterback gets hurt early in the 1st quarter. A true freshman plays the rest of the game, he throws a couple of picks, the game starts going downhill for them quickly and it's a big win for Notre Dame. It was one of those games where one team wasn't nearly as good as the score showed and the other team wasn't nearly as bad as the score showed.
Clemson played Syracuse, whose starting senior quarterback was healthy and he played really well. The young defense was still learning the ropes and Clemson was trying a two man quaterback rotation playing Trevor Lawrence for the first time; he played half the game and their regular starter played half the game. They won a close conference game against a Syracuse team who always plays them tough and who had their star quarterback playing.
You look at the rest of their schedules and Notre Dame played a lot of close games against very average teams. Stanford and USC were both way down this year, Florida State, Pitt and Virginia Tech were all down this year. I know it's not Notre Dame's fault those perennially good programs were down this year but the fact is they were down. Way down. Clemson had a lot of big wins.
The selection committee used poor judgment picking Notre Dame. They looked at their schedule and saw their opponents, who are usually good, assumed the same about them this year and thought Notre Dame had a bunch of quality wins. They didn't appear to look at how bad those teams were, THIS YEAR!
Honestly I find it hard to believe that the selection committee was THAT blind and stupid, so they obviously chose for money reasons. Notre Dame had a huge national following and can bring in a bunch of money for the committee's boss; the NCAA!
So Notre is not a TOTAL fraud. Like I said, maybe a top 12-15 ranked team. So I give their fraud rating at 50%.
The older I get, the better I was.
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong.
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