There will be plenty of Cotton Bowl predictions made between now and when Clemson and Notre Dame face off on Dec. 29.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, who faced both the Tigers and Notre Dame in 2018, did not need much time to make his pick.
Clemson defeated Pitt 42-10 in the ACC Championship game. Narduzzi said afterward that there is “no comparison” between Clemson and Notre Dame.
“Clemson is the best football team we’ve played so far to this point. They deserve to be where they are. They’ll probably win a national championship, in my opinion,” Narduzzi said. “It’s a good football team from the front end to the back end as far as the talent they’ve got. Dabo (Swinney) has done a great job, ton of respect for him, love that guy. Clemson is the measuring stick in the ACC right now. They’ve got it going.”
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Pitt played a back-and-forth game with the Irish when the two teams met in South Bend, Ind. on Oct. 13. The Panthers led 7-6 at halftime and 14-6 late into the third quarter before Notre Dame rallied.
Pitt still led 14-12 until midway through the fourth quarter when Irish quarterback Ian Book found receiver Miles Boykin for a 35-yard touchdown. The Irish went on to earn a 19-14 victory.
Clemson dominated Pitt from the opening minutes this past weekend in the ACC championship game. Travis Etienne scored on a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and the Tigers never looked back.
The Tigers (13-0) led 28-10 at halftime on their way to the 32-point victory.
Narduzzi told his team after the game that there was no shame in losing to Clemson. The Tigers finished the season with an average margin of victory of nearly 32 points per game.
“Like I told our kids, there’s no reason to have your heads down. We gave it all we had today. We made our mistakes. We’ve got to live with it,” Narduzzi said. “They’re a talented football team. They’re the best we’ve seen, to answer that question.”
College Football Playoff schedule
The No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) will face No. 1 Alabama (13-0) in the Orange Bowl at 8 p.m. Dec. 29 (ESPN) in Miami in a matchup of Heisman Trophy front-runner quarterbacks — Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and the Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa.
The No. 2 ACC champion Clemson Tigers (13-0) will play No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0) in the Cotton Bowl at 4 p.m. Dec. 29 (ESPN) at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.