Wake Forest couldn’t do it.
Boston College couldn’t do it.
Heck, Miami couldn’t even come close to beating Notre Dame.
Could Florida State have done it? The Seminoles have every right to brag about being the last team in the country that was able to beat Notre Dame, which went undefeated this year, finished No. 1 in the country and will play Alabama tonight for the national title. The Noles beat the Irish 18-14 in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl.
For two straight years, though, the ACC has gone 0-3 against Notre Dame during the regular season. In 2011, Notre Dame beat Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College. This year, the Irish outscored the ACC 100-9.
Somebody has to be able to hang with these national title contenders -- Notre Dame will soon be playing five football games against the ACC on an annual basis. Which team in the ACC this year would have had the best shot? FSU proved it could do it a year ago, but Notre Dame has become a better, more complete team than it was last season. That matchup would give us a legitimate defensive slugfest, as Notre Dame and FSU are both ranked among the top 10 in the country in scoring defense, with the Irish at No. 1 and FSU at No. 6. Clemson’s fast-paced offense would undoubtedly give the Tigers a shot, as would North Carolina with RB Giovani Bernard and OG Jonathan Cooper in the lineup.
Of all the teams in the ACC in 2012, colleague Andrea Adelson and I agree that those three programs -- FSU, Clemson and UNC -- would be the league’s best hope at derailing the Irish this season.
Which one gets your vote?