Are we sure we still want Notre Dame football in the ACC?
Day & Time: Saturday, December 5, 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Ind.
Line: Depending on the service, Notre Dame’s getting between -33.5 and -34.5.
TV/Streaming: NBC, NBCSports Live
Notre Dame Blog: One Foot Down
Rivalry: 6-3, Notre Dame
Current Streak: 3, Notre Dame
First Meeting: The two programs met for the first time way back in 1914 playing at Cartier Field in South Bend. The Fighting Irish shut out the visiting Orange 20-0 in the final game of the season for both teams. Notre Dame finished the 1914 campaign with a 6-2 record, while Syracuse’s record stood at 5-3-2 at season’s end.
Last Meeting: It was a cold day at Yankee Stadium in 2018 when both teams played as ranked opponents. Syracuse was No. 12 in the country while Notre Dame was No. 3. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the true potential of what could’ve happened in that game as Eric Dungey had to leave the game injured in the first quarter, leaving an inexperienced Tommy DeVito at the helm. The Fighting Irish won 36-3.
Head Coaches: Syracuse – Dino Babers (fifth year, 24-35) | Notre Dame – Brian Kelly (eleventh year, 101-37)
Coach Bio: Kelly played college football at Division II Assumption College in his home state of Massachusetts. He was a linebacker for the Greyhounds and immediately became Assumption’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach after graduation. After four years in that position, Kelly moved to Division II Grand Valley State, where he eventually became head coach of the program in 1991. He led the Lakers to their first ever national championships in 2002 and 2003. Afterwards, Kelly made the jump to Division I to become the head coach of Central Michigan in 2004. He led the Chippewas to a MAC Championship and a Motor City Bowl appearance in 2006, which allowed Kelly to jump to Cincinnati for the following season. He led the Bearcats from 2007 to 2009, ending the regular season as the No. 3 ranked team in the standings in his final campaign with Cincinnati.
Following his successful years at Cincinnati, Kelly took the Notre Dame job starting in the 2010 season. Under Kelly, the Fighting Irish have made a bowl appearance every season apart from a four-win 2016 campaign. Notre Dame made the BCS National Championship game once under Kelly in 2012 but lost 42-14 to Alabama. Notre Dame also made the College Football Playoff once under Kelly in 2018 but lost in the semifinals held at the Cotton Bowl to eventual CFP winners Clemson. Coming into this season, Kelly is the winningest active head coach in NCAA football across all divisions.
Last Year: Because it’s Notre Dame, the goal for the Fighting Irish is to always qualify for the College Football Playoff. Losses to No. 3 Georgia and No. 19 Michigan derailed any hope of a national championship, so Notre Dame had to settle for the Camping World Bowl that Syracuse won in the previous season. The Fighting Irish easily brushed aside Iowa State 33-9 for Notre Dame’s fifth bowl win under Kelly.
Last Game: One of the bigger games in the college football schedule took place last Friday as No. 2 Notre Dame traveled to Chapel Hill to take on No. 17 UNC. As is typical Notre Dame fashion, the Fighting Irish denied the Tar Heel running back duo of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams from doing anything on the ground as UNC only got 85 rushing yards from its running backs. Notre Dame meanwhile rode the back of 124 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns from Kyren Williams to take a 31-17 victory.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: You could show a picture of Notre Dame’s offensive line to any head coach this season and they’ll shudder in fear. The name most people will be familiar with is Liam Eichenberg, who some expect to be taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
If Syracuse Wins: By rule of the transitive property, we are better than Clemson and deserve a top-four ranking in the next College Football Playoff poll.
If Syracuse Loses: Hi Jim, you have our full and undivided attention.
Fun Fact: This’ll be Syracuse’s first regular season game in December since 2003, where ironically the Orange also played Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish fell to the Orange 38-12 in the Carrier Dome on that day as Walter Reyes exploded for five touchdowns.