After a 2020 season that saw some conferences skip the season altogether while others struggled to get games in, the hope is that 2021 will deliver a return to some level of normalcy. We will have fans back in the stands, and with just a few weeks before the start of the season, all conferences are on board to play a full season. One of the changes that we saw last season was the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and independent, play in the ACC. They will return to independent status this season as they look to get back to the playoffs again after landing in the top 4 last season. Let’s take a look back at 2020 before we predict how the Irish might do this season and then you can get ready to make your bets again their NCAAF odds.
2021 College Football Betting | Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview for the Upcoming Season
The Irish in 2020
It was certainly a little strange to see Notre Dame play conference football last season. Given that we are seeing realignment happen now, we do wonder if the Irish might be tempted to ditch their independent status. They certainly performed well in an admittedly weak ACC last season, going unbeaten in regular season play to finish on top. They were no match for Clemson, though, in the Conference Championship Game, going down 34-10 in that one after beating the Tigers earlier in the season in an OT thriller.
Despite not winning the big game, the Playoff Committee put the Irish into the postseason, where they face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl. They lost that one 31-14, which proved to be a disappointing end to a season with so much promise. Now that they are back among the independents, can Notre Dame make another run in 2021?
The Irish Odds and Outlook for 2021
The Irish have been in the playoffs in 2 of the last 3 seasons, but their chances of getting back there again this season are going to depend on a couple of things. The first will be their ability to fill the holes that opened up on offense after losing 9 starters to the NFL draft. Included among that group was QB Ian Book, who will be replaced this season by Jake Coan, a transfer from Wisconsin.
The other issue that they face is in the coaching side of things, with defensive coordinator Clark Lea now working the sidelines as the head coach of Vanderbilt. The defense should still be elite, although there are some potential problems at CB for the Irish.
Looking at the Notre Dame schedule for 2021, you see what looks to be a rather favorable set of games. The problem there is that a single loss could potentially put the playoffs out of reach. They have back-to-back games against Wisconsin and Cincinnati in the first half of the season, as well as a game against USC a little later in the season. Those look to be the biggest stumbling blocks. The bookies seem to think that a National Championship for the Irish is a longshot, as they have them in at +6000 right now. I would tend to agree with that assessment, as I believe their window to be closed for now.
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