3 Reasons Why The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Will Make The College Football Playoff This Season

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish narrowly missed out on a College Football Playoff berth last season, and they have every intention of competing for a national title again this year. A few narrow road losses to top 10 teams ultimately cost them, and they're ready to right those perceived wrongs. Here are three reasons why the Irish will earn a CFP berth this season:

3) Torii Hunter Jr.'s breakout season

Notre Dame is replacing Will Fuller, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle in the receiving core, and Hunter looks like the one who's going to step up and become the team's go-to guy. The 6'0", 195-pounder has excellent speed and athleticism, but it's his incredible hands that make him a superstar in the making. Just look at this catch in the spring game:

If he keeps making plays like that, the Irish will have elite college receiver that will keep defensive coordinators up at night.

2) Favorable schedule

Last year, Notre Dame's losses came on the road in their toughest games. This year, they'll get those games at home. Michigan State, Stanford, Miami and Virginia Tech all have to travel to South Bend in 2016. A season-ending trip to USC does loom over their season, but the Trojans are expected to have some problems as they break in a new quarterback. Simply put, the Irish will have plenty of opportunities to get big wins.

1) Outstanding quarterback play

The Irish have one of the most interesting quarterback battles in the nation, as both Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer are competing for the starting job. Zaire was the starter at the start of the 2015 season due to his experience and rushing ability, but after he got hurt in their second game, Kizer took over an emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the country. As a redshirt freshman, he passed for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while adding 520 yards and 10 more scores on the ground.

Kizer is expected to win the job in training camp - and is a legitimate Heisman candidate - but the Irish will be in good hands with whoever is under center. And, considering there are so few quality, proven quarterbacks in college this season, that will give Notre Dame a decisive advantage.

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Related Topics: College Football Playoff, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football, NCAA Football, Malik Zaire, Torii Hunter Jr., 2017 College Football Playoff, Deshone Kizer