College football: 5 teams that won’t be as good as you think in 2021

Dan Mullen, Kyle Trask, Florida Gators. (Mandatory Credit: Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK)
Dan Mullen, Kyle Trask, Florida Gators. (Mandatory Credit: Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK) /
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Brian Kelly, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame Fighting Irish. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Pick Analysis. Independent. 2. player. 819. Scouting Report. FBS. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

No Ian Book and no 8-game ACC schedule present huge problems for Notre Dame

Even though the Notre Dame Fighting Irish made the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons, there is next to no chance they will make it three out of four years in 2021. Notre Dame benefited tremendously from being welcomed into the ACC with open arms for an unprecedented 2020 college football season. They will go back to being a national independent.

And with that comes some challenges. Not having the 13th data point will be a major issue for them going forward. Without having a conference championship game to play in, Notre Dame has to go an undefeated 12-0 to have any shot of making the playoff. Unfortunately, the Irish’s upcoming schedule is too daunting for them to be any better than 11-1. This is their reality.

Notre Dame’s five toughest games of the season come consecutively in the middle of their schedule. While the only true road game is at Virginia Tech, they still have to play Cincinnati, USC and North Carolina at home, as well as Wisconsin on a neutral site at Soldier Field in Chicago. They are not doing better than 4-1 in that five-game run from Sept. 25 to Oct. 30. It will cost them.

The other massive issue working against Notre Dame is they will not having an all-time great quarterback playing for them anymore in Ian Book. He was the one who helped quarterback the Irish to two playoff berths in his illustrious college career. With Book taking his mid-round talents to the NFL, Notre Dame may not be anything better than a 10-win team after its bowl game.