Ohio State at Notre Dame
While the Buckeyes have finished second in their division to the Michigan Wolverines for the past two seasons, they are still considered a team that reloads instead of rebuilds. CJ Stroud has left for the NFL, and while potential replacements Kyle McCord and Devin Brown have little practical experience, that doesn’t mean expectations for the 2023 season aren’t still sky high.
In South Bend, the Irish will have a very experienced quarterback behind center. Sam Hartman, who became the ACC’s leader in career touchdowns at Wake Forest, has transferred into the program. Though Hartman brings experience, much of the environment around him will be relatively new, including the offensive coordinator. Tommy Rees has left to take over as coordinator at Alabama. Head coach Marcus Freeman promoted tight ends coach Gerad Parker to take over playcalling duties.
Ohio State is coming off a CFP berth, and they will still be seen as a favorite by most. Notre Dame can remain respectable if they give the Buckeyes a good game, but if they want to be considered a serious contender, they will need a victory in South Bend. If Clemson wants a strength of schedule that the CFP committee sees as reasonably challenging, they will need their premier out-of-conference opponent to achieve against a team that is an annual contender for the Big Ten title.