Is there a viable path for Notre Dame to the College Football Qualifiers? correct

Guess which schools will be part of the College Football League debates over the next few weeks?

It’s Notre Dame, of course. Irish (10-1) are in 6th place in the latest College Football Qualifiers rankings, and there are still some possible arguments to be made over the next few weeks.

This is not a new trend. Notre Dame has been in the top six in the CFP rankings and has been head-to-head for the week in three of the past four seasons. There’s nothing irrelevant about the show right now.

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But is there a realistic path to the playoffs for a one-loss team without a game for the conference championship? 1 Georgia could almost claim a playoff spot with a win over Georgia Tech on Saturday before the SEC championship game.

However, Notre Dame could spark some debate with the rest of the six legitimate playoff contenders by beating Stanford and arriving at the clubhouse with an 11-1 record.

Where are the potential debates with those six teams? SN takes a closer look:


How could it happen: What if Alabama lost the SEC championship game to Georgia? How much score will matter? The Crimson Tide has a legitimate chance of being the first two-loss team to win a CFP, and that could come at the expense of Notre Dame.

Prepare to justify the 13th data point, even if that data point is Mercer, an FCS field that the Crimson Tide played in Week 2. That game won’t count when comparing the two.

Excluding Mercer, Alabama’s competitors have a combined record of 73-59. Notre Dame’s opponent has a 59-59 record. The strength of that schedule is in Alabama’s favor, and the CFP committee could prioritize it over Ireland.

Who wins? 11-2 Alabama will overtake 11-1 Notre Dame? Yes, unless it’s a loss to Georgia.

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Ohio and Michigan State

All three traditional Rust Belt powerhouses have 10 wins ahead of the weekend’s showdowns, and the path for an Ohio-Michigan State winner is clear. Beat the Big Ten West champion, possibly Wisconsin, in the Big Ten championship game.

What if the Buckeyes or the Wolverines lost that game? Theoretically, it would open the door for Notre Dame, which beat Wisconsin 41-13 on September 25. The Badgers could be a three-loss Big Ten champion that could knock the convention out of the game. knockout round.

Don’t believe this happens. The Big Ten East champion has won the grand slam championship for the past seven years.

Who wins? Ohio State or Michigan (if they win the Big Ten)


This should be an open and closed case for the Bearcats. Cincinnati beat Notre Dame 24-13 on October 2, and that match took place at Notre Dame Stadium. If the Bearcats end up undefeated, there’s no logical explanation for placing Notre Dame a loss against them.

Now, if the Bearcats lose to East Carolina or Houston in the next two weeks, get ready for that head-to-head win to be thrown out the window. It shouldn’t, but it’s entirely possible given the way the CFP committee has treated the Michigan-Michigan State results over the past two weeks.

Notre Dame has won its last six games with an average of 22.7 points per game, and Navy is the only Pot 5 school on that list. It’s a thin argument, but it’s one the Irish can win.

Who wins? Cincinnati (unless they lose)

Oklahoma or State of Oklahoma

This is the final potential barrier. Oklahoma State or Oklahoma could win the next two games (potentially against each other) and end up as a one-loss Big 12 champion.

Oklahoma State is the more dangerous team in this scenario. The Cowboys lost 24-21 at Iowa State, but they’ve shown a nasty defense over the past month. Oklahoma still carries the brand values ​​of a four-time CFP champion, but the Sooners can’t get past the Notre Dame program.

However, that congress championship match can make an impression, especially on the Irish out of sight, out of mind.

Who wins? Notre Dame (but it was a coin flip)

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So, knowing that, this is where Notre Dame’s resume will stack up against potential final resumes in two weeks. Below are possible resumes among candidates, in order.

1. Georgia (13-0): There is nothing to argue here.

2. Alabama (12-1): The Crimson Tide will have five wins over ranked teams and one win over Georgia No.

3. Ohio State (12-1): The Buckeyes would have four wins against opponents ranked at the time, and that includes all 10 top-10 wins over Michigan State and Michigan.

4. Georgia (12-1): If the Bulldogs lose to Alabama in the SEC championship game, then they will be forgiven with a 3rd or 4th seed in the CFP if the remainder holds.

5. Michigan (12-1): If the Wolverines end up beating Ohio State, then winning the Big Ten championship, they’ll be in the CFP with Jim Harbaugh at #2 or #3.

6. Cincinnati (13-0): The Bearcats are in a good position knowing Ohio State or Michigan must lose, and they could survive in the SEC two-team scenario right now. Plus, they went head-to-head on Notre Dame.

7. Alabama (February 11): Will the commission put the Crimson Tide at a loss twice against the Irish? We think they will unless they are eliminated by Georgia or overtake Auburn.

8. Notre Dame Cathedral (January 11): This is where the Irish stand. It’s just a matter of which records on them are removed. The Irish have only one win against a top contender, and that could be Wisconsin’s four losses.

9. Oklahoma State (January 12): The Cowboys could run ahead of the Irish knowing they would have a luxe Power 5 championship. They could have five wins against the top opponents at the time. Notre Dame should worry here.

10. Oklahoma (12-1): The Sooners have brand value, but that one-point loss streak has damaged their record along with heavy losses at Baylor.

11. Ohio State (February 11): A loss to the Big Ten West champions would see the Buckeyes out despite wins over Michigan State and Michigan at the time.

12. Michigan (February 11): The same rule also applies. Even if the Werewolves do finally conquer the Buckeyes, they still need to finish the conference title in Indianapolis.

13. Cincinnati (12-1): The Bearcats ended with a loss, and they know it.

It will happen?

Assuming the striving holds, then Ireland is likely to be knocked out of the College Football Knockout Qualifiers.

Notre Dame fans need to root for Alabama losing the SEC championship game and Cincinnati losing to ECU or Houston. If you lose to Ohio-Michigan State in the Big Ten championship match and the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State split will be the prize money.

That said, Notre-Dame will be on the table at the end of the conversation as long as the Irish beat Stanford on Saturday. A win would give them a 52-9 record over the past five seasons.

That kind of success will keep them in the playoff-related conversation.

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