The bizarreness of 2020 continued a couple weeks ago when it was announced that Notre Dame would be eligible to compete for the ACC Championship in 2020.
What? Oh. You haven't heard? In 2020, anything goes.
The ACC schedule was released on Thursday.
Is it a lock that Clemson will win its sixth consecutive ACC title in 2020? Could Notre Dame spoil the party in its lone season in the conference?
Four months from the ACC Championship, I have a difficult time laying -400 with a team to win a conference championship. Will Clemson win the ACC? Likely. But in August, you have to spend $400 to only make $100.
If you want to back Clemson, it is hard to blame you. Trevor Lawrence is back. RB Travis Etienne is back. WR Justyn Ross is out of the year for Tigers due to injury but the Tigers still have Amari Rodgers and host a young talent at wide receiver.
Clemson's offensive line only returns one starter. Defensively, four starters from last year are in the NFL including Isaiah Simmons. DE Xavier Thomas is expected to miss the majority of the 2020 season.
But, six defensive starters return in 2020 and defensive coordinator Brent Venables remains one of the top minds in college football. Clemson will likely win its sixth straight ACC title in December but there has to be a better way to wrap up your money for five months than only a 25% return on investment.
Wait, Notre Dame is an independent. Why are we talking about Notre Dame here?
Hi, I’m 2020. Have we met?
So, this is happening.
Are the Irish a good bet at +700? Ian Book is back for his third season as the starter at quarterback. That is a plus. Book threw for 34 touchdowns with just six interceptions in 2019. Book is also Notre Dame’s leading rusher returning. The issue the Irish run into in 2020 is at wide receiver. Book’s top three targets are all gone: Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet, and Chris Finke. Additionally, Kevin Austin is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks due to a foot injury.
The good news is Notre Dame returns all five starting offensive lineman.
Defensively, Notre Dame lost four of its six top tacklers but LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is back, which should excite a lot of pro scouts.
Notre Dame will likely be a favorite in every game this season outside of the Clemson game on November 7. With +700 odds, it’s a decent bet to make if you believe the Irish can reach the ACC Championship in December.
If Notre Dame plays in Charlotte, a hedge opportunity would be available.
Yes, Phil Steele considers Miami his #1 improved team, but at +1600 odds I would rather take a flier on the Tar Heels to win the conference.
North Carolina does not play Clemson in the regular season and hosts Notre Dame coming off a bye week on November 27. As most folks remember, UNC was a two-point conversion away from beating Clemson in September last season. The Tar Heels also destroyed Temple, 55-13, in the Military Bowl.
However, North Carolina lost games to Wake Forest, Appalachian State, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh last year.
Freshman All-American QB Sam Howell is back and the Tar Heels have exceptional offensive skill position players returning in 2020.
If North Carolina can upset Notre Dame in Chapel Hill on Nov. 27, the Tar Heels should be in good shape to play for a conference title.