Obviously, Notre Dame football is not an official member of any conference, but the Fighting Irish play a handful of ACC teams each year, as part of an arrangement with the league. That means they have a few common opponents with their College Football Playoff semifinal opponent, Clemson.
Both teams are undefeated on the season. Of course, due to styles and differing circumstances in games, you can’t only take a head to head comparison to make a judgment on two teams.
The total scoring margin in games against those four common opponents—Florida State, Pitt, Syracuse, and Wake Forest—does fall pretty heavily on the side of the Tigers, though.
Notre Dame handled Syracuse much better than Clemson. blowing the Orange out at Yankee Stadium, while Clemson squeaked by with a four-point home win. Otherwise, the Tigers were the stronger opponent.
The full breakdown:
|Date||Clemson||Score (Margin)||Date||Notre Dame||Score (Margin)|
|Oct. 27||at Florida State||59-10 (49)||Nov. 10||vs. Florida State||42-13 (29)|
|Dec. 1||vs. Pitt (Charlotte)||42-10 (32)||Oct. 13||vs. Pitt||19-14 (5)|
|Sept. 29||vs. Syracuse||27-23 (4)||Nov. 17||vs. Syracuse (Bronx)||36-3 (33)|
|Oct. 6||at Wake Forest||63-3 (60)||Sept. 22||at Wake Forest||56-27 (29)|
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, whose Panthers nearly upset Notre Dame football but got thumped by Clemson, says there’s no comparison between the two.
Narduzzi’s team lost by five in South Bend, and this weekend, lost by 32 at the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. He thinks the Tigers are the much tougher team.
From the Anderson Independent Mail:
Immediately after the game, Narduzzi was asked to compare Clemson to Notre Dame. He did not need much time to contemplate his response.
“There’s no comparison,” Narduzzi said frankly. “Clemson is the best football team we’ve played so far to this point.”
Narduzzi went as far as to predict a Clemson national championship:
“They deserve to be where they are. They’ll probably win a national championship,” Narduzzi said. “It’s a good football team from the front end to the back end as far as the talent they’ve got. (Clemson coach Dabo Swinney) has done a great job. Ton of respect for him. Love that guy. Clemson is the measuring stick in the ACC right now. They’ve got it going.”
Of course, Alabama football will likely have something to say about that, but the Tigers should not be discounted at all.