Notre Dame has effectively clinched their second College Football Playoff berth in three seasons.
Not even an ACC Championship game loss will keep Notre Dame out of the playoff.
By defeating the Syracuse Orange at home 45-21, the 10-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will officially get to the ACC Championship game without a loss on their resume. They will face the Clemson Tigers with multiple College Football Playoff spots on the line. The only guaranteed thing to happen in Charlotte in a few weeks is the Irish will be getting to the playoff no matter what.
Notre Dame is getting in and possibly Clemson if they win in Charlotte
It does not matter what the result is from a Notre Dame perspective in the ACC Championship game. If the Irish defeat the Tigers for a second time this season, Notre Dame will be the only ACC team in the College Football Playoff. They could get in as either the No. 1 seed or the No. 2 seed, depending on what happens in the SEC Championship game between Alabama and Florida.
Even if Notre Dame falls to Clemson in their rematch with the Tigers, the Fighting Irish will absolutely make the four-team field as a one-loss, at-large team. This is because the Big 12 will not get a team into the field and neither with the Pac-12 in all likelihood. The Big Ten can get a team in with the Ohio State Buckeyes, but that is about it outside of the ACC and the SEC.
What will be interesting is if the College Football Playoff Selection Committee avoids the possible immediate rematch between Clemson and Notre Dame in a national semifinal should the Tigers beat the Golden Domers in Charlotte. If that were to happen, Clemson would be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed and play Ohio State, while Notre Dame would drop to No. 4 to face likely No. 1 Alabama.
With only championship games left, Notre Dame fans can celebrate their playoff berth a bit early.