Notre Dame capped off their third double-digit win season in a row with the victory against Stanford last Saturday.
Respectable, but not good enough – Notre Dame has gone 32-6 over their past three seasons including the undefeated regular season which ended in dismay against the again undefeated, and now third ranked Clemson Tigers.
But with this level of play we still find ourselves at the outside looking in at even a respectable bowl game. The College Football Playoff Committee – obviously punishing Notre Dame for lack of a conference championship and embarrassing loss at Michigan – have ranked them #15 in the final regular season poll, one behind the #14th ranked Wolverines.
Do not bother trying to convince me that Notre Dame at 10-2 is the worst of six teams with the same record and two teams with three losses. It just does not make sense given how they resilient the team has been since the big loss, especially in the Virginia Tech win. They have grown leaps and bounds and are starting to find their groove.
At the end of the regular season, Notre Dame has finished with the 13th best strength of schedule. Including five opponents ranked in the top 25 in the same poll.
Since Week 10, when they unveiled the CFP rankings, Notre Dame has flip-flopped between #15 & #16 and have not cracked under the top 15.
Maybe Time For A Bowl Boycott?
While I would love to see Notre Dame play against this season, and reward the team for a respectable ten-win season, I think they need to draw a damn line in the sand because the road to a respectable bowl game is likely blocked by the expected outcomes of the conference championship weekend results.
Bowl projections put the Irish playing against Texas in the Camping World Bowl. What a joke. While Irish fans have to sit and await their fate, there will be a lot of college football worth watching this weekend.
Notable Conference Championships
The match ups this weekend consist of several huge match ups so let us play a game of what-ifs – just for shits & giggles.
#5 Utah versus #13 Oregon – if Utah wins, they have a shot to leap into the Final Four.
Oregon finished with a lessor strength of schedule than Notre Dame, but they are likely heading the Rose Bowl whether they pull off an upset or not.
#7 Baylor vs #6 Oklahoma – a rematch of the 28-3 collapse by Baylor.
If Oklahoma can win again, they could find themselves inside the top four as well, they would only have a single loss against Kansas State.
#4 Georgia vs #2 LSU – obviously the game to watch. Personally, Notre Dame should be rooting for the team they nearly beat to win and make the playoffs but it is going to take a miracle. The LSU Tigers should honestly make it either way. But if they are left out, they would end up in the Sugar Bowl. The loser of the game is projected for the Sugar Bowl either way.
#23 Virginia vs #3 Clemson – Another Notre Dame opponent fighting for a chance in their conference championship – which makes two. Clemson has shown weakness against North Carolina and there is a *chance* that the Cavaliers shock the world. This would go to the benefit of Notre Dame who smoked them.
#1 Ohio State vs #8 Wisconsin – It pains me to say Ohio State is one of the hottest teams in the country. Wisconsin came out this season looking like one of the hottest teams in the country. That was until they ran into the wall of the Fighting Illini and the Buckeyes – both games were played away from home. They have righted the ship since and beat up on #18 Minnesota.
Bring on the Chaos
As I mentioned earlier, Irish nation is on the outside looking in and while I know it’s nearly impossible – Rudy had a dream and so can I.
But the reality is Notre Dame likely ends up in the Camping World Bowl on December 28, 2019 against a five loss Texas team who just fired both their offensive and defensive coordinators.