How Notre Dame fits into a 12-team college football playoff

Notre Dame has made two college football playoff appearances in the past seven years. What would be the benefit of expanding the scope of the playoffs?

College Football Playoff Committee Thursday unveiled a 12-team format proposal which will be reviewed later this month. The four-team CFP won’t change for at least the next two seasons, but some wrinkles in the planned new playoffs would impact the Irish.

“We can’t qualify for a pass. It’s limited to the top four ranked champions,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said on the College Football Playoff conference call. “I can’t wait to never hear again how we played one game less or that we don’t have a conference championship.”

BENDER: Why we love (and hate) the idea of ​​a 12-team CFP

The second part of this quote is full of sarcasm. Notre Dame regains independent status in 2021, and its role in a possible 12-team playoff is polarizing as usual.

“You had to keep the larger interest of the game in mind, and we all got that,” said Swarbrick, a member of the subcommittee that drafted the expansion proposal. “From my point of view, it was an appropriate compromise to get a model that I thought was the right one for college football.”

But is it fair to the Irish? Sporting News takes a look at the pros and cons of a 12-team setup for them:

Pros: More playoff chances

The Irish are 33-5 over the past three seasons under Brian Kelly, who has the program on stable ground.

This is the fourth best FBS record behind Clemson (39-3), Alabama (38-3) and Ohio State State (33-3) since 2018. There is a gap between the Big Three and everyone except the Irish. would be a regular in the playoffs in a 12-team setup.

AFTER: Five best bets to crash the CFP in 2021

“I think it’s helpful for us to say, ‘Look, Alabama put their position in jeopardy in their title game or Oklahoma put their position in jeopardy in their conference title game. We do the same in the first round, ‘”said Swarbrick.” We’re tied in that regard, other than enjoying a potential 1-4 seed. “

Looking at the past seven seasons, Notre Dame has reportedly made four CFP appearances in a 12-team model. That would suggest Notre Dame could still keep her independent status and that big NBC contract, while still doing CFP on a regular basis without having to go through a conference championship game.

Is it good enough?

Cons: More difficult road to a title

Notre Dame hasn’t won a national championship since 1988, one of the most severe droughts among FBS blueblood programs.

The downside of not having a first round pass is that it would take four wins to win a national championship. Notre Dame has gone undefeated in the regular season three times under Kelly.

The Irish were the No. 4 seed in last year’s four-team playoffs. Using the 12-team proposition metric, Notre Dame would have # 7 seed last season. This means the Irish would have had a first round clash with Georgia before a second round clash with Clemson.

Will Notre Dame join a conference?

Is a 12-team college football playoff the nudge that puts Notre Dame in a Power 5 conference for good?

The Irishman took advantage of his year-long ACC tour, made necessary due to the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 college football season. Notre Dame reached the ACC championship game and shared both of his games with Clemson, and it was good enough to make the CFP.

Now look at the 2021 schedule:

  • ACC opponents: at Florida State, at Virginia Tech, against North Carolina, at Virginia, against Georgia Tech
  • Other opponents: against Toledo, against Purdue, against Wisconsin *, against Cincinnati, against USC, against Navy, at Stanford

* At Soldier Field, Chicago

The only ACC opponent ranked in SN’s Pre-Season Top 25 is North Carolina. The other ranked opponents are Wisconsin, Cincinnati and USC.

Would a 12-team playoff strain Notre Dame’s arrangement with the ACC? Or would that prompt the university to consider joining the conference full time? This question will be answered in time, but Swarbrick insists it’s the right plan for the Irish.

“Even though we don’t play in a conference, I recognize the importance of strong conferences and giving the opportunity to [Group of 5]”Swarbrick said.” We wanted to do it. “


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