2. Cotton Bowl
Matchup: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers
Date: Dec. 29
Location: Arlington, TX
We get to move away from teams like Texas football and Georgia, and the rest of the non-Playoff New Year’s Six field, and into the Semifinals. The Clemson Tigers battle the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first Semifinal game that should be more evenly matched than the other. Clemson and Notre Dame are similar teams in nature.
If nothing else, both Notre Dame and Clemson are quality on both sides of the ball. That’s not something both Oklahoma and Alabama can say at all times (mainly the Sooners though).
Clemson is coming off its ACC Championship Game victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in dominant fashion in Charlotte, NC. Notre Dame didn’t get a conference title game, so its coming off the close rivalry win over the USC Trojans.
Clemson will be looking to have its true freshman quarterback carry them all the way to the national title game for the third time in the last four years. Trevor Lawrence is a freshman sensation that is going to be in the thick of the Heisman race next year, and he’s taking Clemson far this year.
Notre Dame has a good quarterback situation of its own in a way that many didn’t expect at the outset of the regular season. Junior Ian Book took over the starting quarterback duties for the Irish against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and hasn’t looked back since. Book has nearly 2,500 passing yards and 23 total touchdowns since he became the starting signal caller.