Tag: Rankings

Tennessee v Georgia

Notre Dame ranked 10th in first Playoff rankings


The first College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday evening. And Notre Dame has some work to do.

The selection committee’s first ballot has the Irish slotted in at 10th in the country, a middle-of-the-pack one-loss team according to the 12-person voting panel.

Three of the top four spots are filled with SEC teams, with unbeaten Mississippi State atop the first pole, while one-loss Auburn and Ole Miss surround No. 2 ranked Florida State. Following that group is Oregon, Alabama and TCU, with Michigan State and Kansas State filling out the top ten with Notre Dame.

While the initial reaction for most Notre Dame fans will be panic, there is still a lot of football to be played. The top two-loss teams slot in at 18th and 19th, with Oklahoma and LSU, starting a five-team run of two-loss teams, with West Virginia, Clemson and UCLA slotting before East Carolina, the only non-Power Five conference team.

Here is the evaluation process, according to the College Football Playoff’s website:

Selection committee members will have a wealth of information including review of video, statistics and their own expertise to guide them in their deliberations. They will emphasize obvious factors like win-loss records, strength of schedule, conference championships won, head-to-head results and results against common opponents. The playoff group has retained SportSource Analytics to provide the data platform for the committee’s use. While the details of the platform have not been finalized, it is anticipated that it will include countless pieces of statistical information for every Football Bowl Subdivision team. It will also include general information such as each team’s opponents’ record and opponents’ opponents’ records. The platform will allow the committee members to compare and contrast every team on every level possible.

While the compare and contrast function isn’t fully formed, it’s worth doing a little of it as we try and make heads or tails of how the committee viewed a single loss. For Ole Miss, who just lost to LSU in Baton Rouge, they slid only to No. 4, with a victory over Alabama helping their lofty rating. That Michigan State can lose by 19 points to Oregon and still be rated ahead of Notre Dame (who had a more impressive win over Michigan than the Spartans as well) is a bit confusing.

Right now, it looks like a big win is valued more than a close loss, explaining why the Irish slot at ten. And while three conference frontrunners make it look difficult for Notre Dame to bump past one or the other, Nick Saban’s comment echoes those from Kelly earlier this afternoon.

“None of it matters. I don’t even care, to be honest with you. Don’t know. Don’t care.”

That won’t be the reaction from fans across the country, who now ratchet up the value of every regular season game played once the calendar turns to November. In fact, the Irish and the Crimson Tide are the first big losers of the initial pole, with Notre Dame four spots lower in the initial committee rankings than the AP poll, while Alabama is three spots lower.





Friday notes: Martin, recruiting and more recruiting


The dust has settled and hopefully an Irish coaching staff that traversed the country chasing down some of the top defensive recruits in the country gets some rest. (Not to mention a certain writer who has been having hand cramps since about noon on Wednesday.)

With no real football news to speak of, let’s go over some of the under-reported topics from a pretty incredible 23-man 2011 recruiting class.


Late Wednesday night, one of the guys from Irish Illustrated tweeted that Chuck Martin has to be one of the best coaches in America to have a beer with. I can say that after having the chance to have one or two with him back during the Notre Dame Fantasy Camp last summer, he’s definitely at the top of my list.

After head coach Brian Kelly spoke to the assembled media and a few thousand people watching the live-streaming broadcast at UND.com, Martin gave one of the better off-the-cuff press sessions you’ll ever want to see, including some incredible insight on how the Irish swung Stephon Tuitt back into Notre Dame’s corner after an 11th hour switch.

In a shrewd recruiting move, the Irish coaching staff, even though Tuitt had technically been  committed to Notre Dame for quite some time, saved their head coaching visit to Tuitt’s home for as late in the process as possible, as they knew an elite recruit like Tuitt from a hyper-competitive area like Georgia, would need to be recruited until the very end.

“One of the best things we did with Tuitt is that we still had our boss’s visit,” Martin said. “It was planned. We talked about it. This is not over. This one’s going to go. We can say he’s committed all we want. We knew there was going to come a time whether he was recommitted or very gray, we had it scheduled for the last week like the last Thursday. It got accelerated a week because it happened that way. That changes [Kelly’s] week. Well, you’ve only got seven on the road, you’ve got 10 coaches. Once you change one guy’s, it’s like dominoes, everybody’s week changes.”

When Tuitt pulled the panic switch and changed his commitment, the Irish didn’t stick their tail behind their legs and get insulted that their prized defensive lineman wanted to stay home, they stayed mobile and sent down Kelly, who obviously must be one helluva closer.

As Tuitt recounted to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated of that visit:

“What really shocked me was when he told me multiple times that if I was just some great player out there that everybody loved and everybody recruited, if I was just a good football player, that he never would have came,” Tuitt said. “He said the reason he came was that I’m a great football player, a great character person and to have both of those, to be able to handle myself in public and keep positive eyes on me, that was important. That’s like all the work I’ve been doing, not putting myself in the spotlight. I really appreciated that.”

That’s the type of experience 20 years as a head coach in college teaches you.


Probably one of the most interesting things Martin talked about was the recruit that got away, Oklahoma commit Bennett Okotcha, who pledged to the Irish after decommitting from Wisconsin, only to pick the Sooners on the final weekend of recruiting.

“A lot of people will say we’re not aggressive enough,” Martin said. “Well, some things that make sense, it still has to be right. You don’t want to twist a kid’s arm. If distance and weather are going to be an issue, you’re not going to have a good career here.”

Taking things away from Okotcha’s situation, Martin then spoke of the difficulties helping a player reach their full potential if they’re not happy at the school they’ve chosen.

“What happened to him when he got here? Well, he was miserable,” Martin continued. “Why did he never become the player we thought he was going to be? Well, because he was miserable. Then there’s another kid that no one thought was great that fits here and loves it here and is an overachiever and the next thing you know, he’s a second-round draft choice and everyone’s like, ‘How did that happen?’ Well, he was the right fit, right place, right time.”

The Irish could’ve definitely used another cornerback in the recruiting class and I was high on the type of athlete Okotcha was and the player he could’ve become. But as Rich Rodriguez can attest to, not every elite college athlete loves their school enough to play football over a thousand miles from home.


For those of you that follow the national rankings on things like recruiting, here’s how Notre Dame matched up:

MaxPreps/CBS Sports: #1 in country
247sports.com: #7
Scout: #8
Rivals: #9
ESPN: #9
Sporting News: #11
ESPN: #9