Could 11-1 Notre Dame Be Left Out Of The CFP?

Could 11-1 Notre Dame Be Left Out Of The CFP?

Week 10

Could 11-1 Notre Dame Be Left Out Of The CFP?

Five Thoughts: 3. Could 11-1 Notre Dame Be Left Out Of The CFP?


Is it possible Notre Dame can do everything right from here on out and still not get into the College Football Playoff? 



5 Thoughts: Could 11-1 Notre Dame Be TCUed?

1. Conference Race Breakdowns & What Will Happen
2. Would 13-0 Wisconsin & Miami Be CFP Sure Things?
4. Why Washington Will End Up In The College Football Playoff
5. If Baker Mayfield Stumbles, What Happens To The Heisman?
– College Football Playoff Tuesday Night Projection

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Before reading this, Notre Dame fans, don’t get mad at me.

I’m not on the College Football Playoff committee – at least not yet, but I’m always working on it – and it’s not up to me. I’m just here to prepare your souls just in case this all goes horribly wrong for you.

Let me tell you a story.

It was 2014.

America was saying goodbye to How I Met Your Mother, hello to Sharknado 2, and no one used the new Apple Watch to talk about either one.

It was also a new era of college football with the introduction of the College Football Playoff.

In a wild and crazy season, the wildest and craziest game came in mid-October when two high-powered offenses did exactly what they were supposed to.

TCU and Baylor cranked up a whale of a shootout, with the Bears pulling out a 61-58 win in the final moments. The Horned Frogs had a shot to put the game away late on a fourth down try that would’ve iced it, but missed, and eventually lost.

They rallied back from the tough defeat to rip through their remaining eight games, hanging 82 points on Texas Tech – taking their foot off the gas in the third quarter – and rolling to blowout win after blowout win.

Seventh in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, TCU moved its way up to sixth in the second go-round, and then fourth, and eventually up to third  in the next-to-last rankings.

With everyone watching for even the slightest flinch before the first ever CFP top four would be released, TCU rolled past Iowa State 55-3.

And in the final CFP rankings, TCU was dropped to sixth.

Why? Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State all won their respective conference championships, and technically, Baylor – because of the head-to-head win over the Horned Frogs – was the “one true champion” from the Big 12, finishing fifth in the rankings.

TCU was also 11-1, and all four of the College Football Playoff teams had 12 wins or more.

Fast forward to this season. Notre Dame was ranked third in the first College Football Playoff rankings of 2017, and a great argument could be made that it deserved to be No. 2.

It’ll be at least third in this week’s rankings, and it might even get up to second in two weeks if it beats Miami.

If the Irish go 11-1, they’ll have beaten Michigan State, USC, Boston College, NC State, and Miami along the way. Throw in Stanford, Wake Forest and Navy – and factoring in the one loss came to Georgia – and the resume is amazing.

But there will only be 11 wins, and there won’t be a Power Five conference championship. Which unleashes several potential nightmare scenarios for the Irish if they do go 11-1.

It’ll be a problem if Georgia loses the SEC Championship to Alabama. The moral high ground of the great one-loss fades a bit if the Bulldogs aren’t 13-0.

The CFP might take either Georgia or Notre Dame, but they’re probably not going to set a precedent by taking both as long as there are viable Power Five conference champions in the picture.

Notre Dame needs Wisconsin to not go 13-0. It could really use the Big 12 champ to have two losses, and it needs Washington to lose again. Because if at least four Power Five conference champions are unbeaten or have one loss, Notre Dame could get TCUed.

The Irish could be in the top three throughout the whole process, but considering the No. 1 thing the committee has at the top of its list of suggestions is a conference championship, there’s a problem if the SEC champ is unbeaten or has one loss, if Clemson goes 12-1, if Oklahoma goes 12-1, if Wisconsin goes 13-0 or 12-1 with a Big Ten championship, and/or if Washington goes 12-1. Those are five Power Five champs, not including the Georgia issue.

It’s almost certainly not going to happen – 2014 was a historical anomaly in terms of having so many one-loss conference champions to choose from – but all it would take is three P5 champs to be in the mix along with a one-loss SEC Championship loser.

Again, Irish fans …

You’ve been warned.

1. Conference Race Breakdowns & What Will Happen
2. Would 13-0 Wisconsin & Miami Be CFP Sure Things?
4. Why Washington Will End Up In The College Football Playoff
5. If Baker Mayfield Stumbles, What Happens To The Heisman?
– College Football Playoff Tuesday Night Projection

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