17. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1)
Notre Dame is in the College Football Playoff if … it runs the table and does so impressively – and then everything has to go wrong in a slew of Power Five championships. It would also be a huge help if Cincinnati goes 13-0, making the loss in South Bend more palatable … maybe. It might be better if the Bearcats lose twice and get out of the CFP way.
It’s all going to go wrong against … Virginia? Stanford? USC? North Carolina? Georgia Tech? This team plays like it should lose at least one of those games, but it keeps on winning against everyone but the Bearcats.
Will Notre Dame get into the College Football Playoff? No, but put the Irish in a New Year’s Six game against – say – Michigan, or Ohio State, or someone else fun.
Ranking the teams alive for the College Football Playoff
UTSA | San Diego State | Coastal Carolina
SMU | Texas A&M | Auburn | Ole Miss
Notre Dame | Kentucky | Cincinnati
Baylor | Pitt | NC State | Wake Forest
Ohio State | Oregon | Penn State | Iowa
Michigan State | Oklahoma St | Michigan
Alabama | Oklahoma | Georgia
Bowl Projections | CFN Rankings