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How Notre Dame defeating No. 4 Clemson impacts ACC, College Football Playoff

Here’s how the Irish beating the Tigers impacts the playoff.

Clemson v Notre Dame
Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans react against the Clemson Tigers during the first half at Notre Dame Stadium on November 05, 2022 in South Bend, Indiana.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish may have started this season with two bad losses, but they just pulled off the biggest upset of the season so far with a 35-14 win over the No. 4 Clemson Tigers. The Irish dominated the Tigers in all three phases of the game, leading to a convincing win for first-year head coach Marcus Freeman’s program.

Clemson’s ACC hopes are still very much alive despite this loss. Notre Dame isn’t a conference game for the Tigers, so the ACC title is still in play. However, Clemson’s expectations are much bigger than the conference championship. And that’s where the problems begin.

This result all but eliminates Clemson from the College Football Playoff rankings and puts their path back into the top four in serious jeopardy. The Tigers will have to put up some style points in their remaining games to make up for this debacle in South Bend. With Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU still undefeated up to this point, there needs to be a lot of chaos for Clemson to gain some respect in the eyes of the committee. One-loss Tennessee probably has more juice than Clemson right now, and one-loss Oregon has looked awesome since Week 1. The Tigers were in a position to control their own destiny after the first CFP rankings. That control is now out the window.