There are a few perks to Notre Dame being a college football independent. Its schedule varies and creates unique fan experiences, nearly every game is broadcast on national television, and the Irish season ends before the weekend of championship games.
No, that will not affect Notre Dame’s entry to the College Football Playoff. Not this year and not in seasons to come. As long as the schedule remains three-quarters filled with Power Five opponents, enough opportunities to prove their worthiness will always be available to the Irish, especially when compared to the Pac 12 or the ACC thanks to set scheduling parameters.
It means today can be an easygoing day enjoying good collegiate football with little-to-no stress. The day’s results will, however, alter where Notre Dame heads for it bowl game.
12:30 p.m. ET on FOX — TCU vs. Oklahoma with the Sooners as touchdown favorites.
4:00 p.m. ET on CBS — Georgia vs. Auburn in what is essentially a toss-up.
8:00 p.m. ET on FOX —Wisconsin vs. Ohio State with the lower-ranked, two-loss Buckeyes as six-point favorites.
8:00 p.m. ET on ABC — Miami vs. Clemson has the Tigers as 9.5-point favorites.
Once more, a recap of how these games determine the Irish bowl destination:
If the top four teams in the College Football Playoff all win (Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin), then Notre Dame will enjoy the Dec. 29 Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Most would prefer the Irish play on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl, also in Orlando. It is not a significantly better bowl, but it would allow for easy viewing thanks to the holiday. The simplest sequence of events to make that a reality has Ohio State beating Wisconsin to edge No. 5 Alabama into the Playoff. This scenario works only if the Badgers are then ranked ahead of the SEC title game loser.
Any and all bowl assignments should be figured out Sunday afternoon and evening, beginning with the final College Football Playoff selection committee rankings released at noon ET on ESPN.
A STAT REGARDING THE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Notre Dame played four of the Power Five conference champion contenders, including both Pac-12 participants. (USC beat Stanford 31-28 on Friday.) This is a unique circumstance also deriving from the Irish independence.
Only Texas and Georgia Tech played as many as three of the 10 teams this season, both going 0-3 in those games.
HERE, SOME RANDOM TRIVIA
Which Beatle was barefoot on the cover of the album, “Abbey Road”?
Answer at the bottom of the post.
THIS WEEK’S INSIDE THE IRSH READING:
— Monday’s Leftovers: Notre Dame was always going to play this out at least one more year
— A look at Notre Dame’s November in one word: Turnovers
— Notre Dame’s bowl projections and opponents’ results
— Where Notre Dame was & is: Defensive Line
— Friday at 4: The results of 40 Notre Dame preseason predictions
INSIDE THE IRISH COVERAGE FROM THE STANFORD GAME
— Notre Dame’s turnovers lead to a 38-20 loss and 9-3 finish
— Things We Learned: Notre Dame is far from the finished product it once looked to be
THIS WEEK’S OUTSIDE READING:
— Fortuna: Is this as good as it gets for Notre Dame under Brian Kelly? ($)
— On the eve of the SEC championship, the league is a mess off the field — “This is the Exxon Valdez spilling a million gallons of New Coke and calling for help on ESPN The Phone. It is a breathtaking mashup of dysfunction, delusion, misplaced arrogance, mob mentality, panic and poor leadership.”
— Tennessee fans got what they wanted, and now the school is the laughingstock of college football — “Often times, program tradition is a great thing. But sometimes it’s a toxic thing, and Tennessee appears to be finding that out now.”
— How did Alabama find itself playing 10-plus minutes of a basketball game with only three players?
— And how exactly did Alabama fare playing with only three players?
Paul McCartney, obviously.