Irish embracing role as underdogs in College Football Playoff

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Notre Dame has been favored in every game they've played this season, but that streak looks like it will come to an end in the Cotton Bowl against #2 Clemson.

Immediately after the matchup was announced, the Irish opened as 11.5-point underdogs to the Tigers. The line got a little closer to 10.5, but that isn't exactly a vote of confidence for undefeated Notre Dame.

The Irish though, say they are embracing the underdog mentality.

"If you're not Notre Dame, you don't like Notre Dame," Irish linebacker/captain Drue Tranquill said. "They can -- all the experts have to pull from in their recent experience is what's happened over the last ten years and how we got blown out by Alabama in '12 and lost to Ohio State in '15 in the Fiesta Bowl. Every time we go against a school with seemingly superior athletes on paper, we haven't fared well. This team is different. This team is not the '12 team. This team isn't '15. Look at our athletes on paper. I think we've got a pretty good spread as well, and I'd take us. Who cares what the spread has to say? I guess we'll find out on December 29."

"I don't really care about what the spread is or anything like that," Irish junior cornerback Julian Love said. "I know what this team's capable of, to be honest with you, and people can compare us to the teams who didn't get in all they want. We're in. We're No. 3, and we're going to show the world what we're about."

"I don't really care about anybody's opinion outside of this building, and I don't think the rest of this team does either," Irish center/captain Sam Mustipher said. "That's how we've done it all year. We've prepared the exact same way, and we've kept our nose focused on what we needed to be focused on. We did what we've had to do when there are opponents in front of us, and I've voiced that to the rest of the team as well. They understand that, and they know what we've done all year."

"There's always going to be doubters, and that's something our team doesn't focus on," Irish junior quarterback Ian Book said. "The people in this building, you know, we play for each other, and there's going to be doubters every day. So you just use it to -- use it to fuel yourselves."

Notre Dame isn't interested in covering though, they want to win and play for a national championship. In order to do that, they'll have to pull the upset over Clemson in the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, December 29th at 4pm.