Notre Dame can spoil FSU's season

Everett Golson will lead the most threatening offense the Irish have had in years. Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

As we count down 50 days until the start of the 2014 college football season, ESPN Insider Travis Haney is answering at least one big question a day until South Carolina and Texas A&M’s kickoff on Aug. 28.

Heisman contenders, breakout freshmen, conference winners -– it will all be covered as part of Insider’s Ultimate Season Preview.

Today’s question: Which team could potentially knock off FSU?

The Florida State Seminoles, according to our Stats & Information department, have a 40 percent chance of going undefeated. The next-closest Power Five undefeated probability is Ohio State -- at 8 percent.

It’s sort of like a batting average in baseball, isn't it? Optimal as it might seem by relative comparison, FSU still has a 60 percent chance of losing at least one game.

Why that’s important: How much would the playoff selection committee discount a one-loss FSU team because of a weaker ACC schedule -- the very one that dramatically increases its odds of going 12-0 in the regular season? How much cache would it carry being the defending champs? Would it need to go undefeated to crack the top four?

The Football Power Index formula suggests that Miami (13 percent win probability), Clemson (12 percent) and Florida (9 percent) will be the closest games.

But, c’mon, you’ve watched enough college football. It’s the longshot that often comes in.

That longshot is Notre Dame. And here’s why.