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2015 was the year

10-1 heading into the final week of the season against a top-15 Stanford team and…they lost. They still got themselves a Fiesta Bowl bid, but that ended with a 44-28 thrashing from THEE Ohio State. 

No College Football Playoff. 

Ok, 2017 was the year

Bounce back from a 4-8 2016 campaign to start the season 8-1 with impressive, dominant wins over ranked USC and NC State and head down to Miami for a revival of Catholics vs. Convincts only to…get blown out.

No College Football Playoff. 

Every time Brian Kelly’s Irish have controlled their destiny and had a chance to win out for a prize in the CFP, or at least put the committee in a weird spot for a huge debate, Notre Dame has come up short – not even giving Kirk Herbstreit the chance to walk off set on the first Sunday of December. 

Now, ND finds themselves in the top 5 in mid-October with their CFP fate in their own hands – again.

It will be a weird route, as Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde detailed here. They only have one true home game left in the season after this weekend because of two neutral site games in San Diego against Navy and New York against Syracuse (Shamrock Series). Then they go to USC for their every-other-year Thanksgiving weekend trip, so the travel will, by definition, be coast-to-coast to end the season. 

But the combined records of those opponents gives the Irish a favorable chance to be undefeated by selection Sunday. 

Here’s how the rest of the schedule plays out:

10/13 vs. Pitt (3-3)

10/20 bye

10/27 Navy (in San Diego) (2-3)

11/3 @ Northwestern (2-3)

11/10 vs. Florida State (3-3)

11/17 Syracuse (Shamrock Series) (4-2)

11/24 @ USC (3-2)

No ranked teams. One true road game. A combined record of 17-16 heading into Week 7. 

Will there be another letdown? And if so, when does it come?

One thing is for sure – if the Irish run the table to 12-0 after Thanksgiving, 2018 will finally be the year