College Football Playoff: Notre Dame's chances to get in
There are two schools of thought on what Notre Dame wants and needs. Obviously it has to go 11-1 – it's over at 10-2 – but does it need Clemson to be phenomenal, or would a few Clemsoning losses help?
If the Tigers are 13-0, ACC-champion terrific, it's in – taking up a spot – but the argument could also be made that Clemson already beat Notre Dame, so why give the Irish a second chance? That idea would get blown off in a hurry. If Notre Dame wins out, and the one loss is on the road at Death Valley, one of the most hostile environments in college football, by a failed two-point conversion, that's about as acceptable as it gets.
But again, first, the Irish have to win out.
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That means beating an undefeated Temple on the road, a one-loss Pitt on the road, and Stanford on the road. All that matters is what each of those teams looks like at the end of their respective conference seasons, but for now, beating those three would make up for the lack of a conference schedule, especially beating the Cardinal in the last game of the regular season in Palo Alto. Throw in a blowout win over Texas and wins over Navy and USC, and at the very least an 11-1 Irish team is in the discussion. However, to get in means that at least two Power Five champions are out, and even with the brand name, and even with the national following, it would still be a fight.
11-1 Notre Dame doesn't get in over a one-loss SEC champion, and probably not a one-loss Big 12 champion. What if there's somehow a one-loss Big Ten champ? Then it becomes a fight considering how that plays out – the Notre Dame resume would be better than anything Michigan State, Ohio State or Iowa could put together.
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