Notre Dame Football Playoff Report: Week 12

Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Notre Dame maintained their #4 ranking in the college football playoff after a wild weekend that saw four top 10 teams lose. Most Irish fans would agree they would have preferred a better performance against Wake Forest, but ND was just fine when you look at the results from the top five as a whole – other than Alabama.

Review of last week’s top 15:

  • #1 Clemson over Syracuse 37-27
  • #2 Alabama rolls #17 Mississippi State 31-6
  • #3 Ohio State beats Illinois 28-3
  • #5 Iowa outlasts Minnesota 40-35
  • #6 Baylor downed by #12 Oklahoma 44-34
  • #7 Stanford upset by Oregon 38-36
  • #8 Oklahoma State sneaks by Iowa State 35-31
  • #9 LSU blown out by Arkansas 31-14
  • #10 Utah stunned by Arizona 37-30 in 2OT
  • #11 Florida over South Carolina 24-14
  • #13 Michigan State handles Maryland 24-7
  • #14 Michigan survives Indiana 48-41 in 2OT
  • #15 TCU over Kansas 23-17

Review of last week’s other ND opponents:

  • Texas @ West Virginia, L 38-20
  • Virginia @ Louisville, L 38-31
  • Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech, L 23-21
  • Massachusetts @ Eastern Michigan, W 28-17
  • #20 Navy vs. SMU, W 55-14
  • USC @ Colorado, W 27-24
  • #22 Temple @ South Florida, L 44-23
  • Pittsburgh @ Duke, W 31-13
  • Boston College, Off

Best Hopes for the Big 12 & Big Ten

Notre Dame’s best hopes to makes the playoffs are as follows:

  • All Big 12 teams have one ore more losses, with Oklahoma having two losses.
    • Unbeaten Oklahoma State (still plays Baylor & Oklahoma)
    • One-loss Oklahoma (still plays TCU & Oklahoma State)
  • All Big Ten teams have one or more losses.
    • Ohio State (still plays Michigan State, Michigan and Big Ten Championship)
    • Iowa (still plays Purdue, Nebraska and Big Ten Championship)

 This week’s games

Saturday, November 7


  • Wake Forest @ #1 Clemson – A Clemson loss dooms Notre Dame. Cheer for Clemson, and thus a future rematch.
  • Charleston Southern @ #2 Alabama – It’s that time of the year for SEC snoozers, part I. Cheer for CSU, or the playoff committee to punish.
  • #9 Michigan State @ #3 Ohio State – Both the Buckeyes and Spartans have looked inconsistent this season. Can the Buckeyes dominating defense contain proven offensive star Connor Cook? Cook was injured last week against Maryland, but if he can return, Michigan State can cause some trouble. Cheer for Michigan State.
  • Purdue @ #5 Iowa – Colin Cowherd has had weekly segments talking trash on Iowa. Here’s this week’s.

Cheer for Purdue.

  • #10 Baylor @ #6 Oklahoma State – Oklahoma State is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Big 12. Cheer for Baylor.
  • #18 TCU @ #7 Oklahoma – Oklahoma is the only one-loss Big 12 team that threatens Notre Dame’s playoff hopes. Cheer for TCU.
  • Florida Atlantic @ #8 Florida – It’s that time of the year for SEC snoozers, part II. Cheer for FAU, or the playoff committee to punish.
  • California @ #11 Stanford – Stanford failed last week’s exam, and while it hurt ND, their ranking didn’t fall as badly as it could have. A win here could propel them back into the top 10 by next week. Cheer for Stanford .

Other Teams We’re Cheering For 

Saturday, November 21

  • #21 Memphis @ Temple
  • #12 Michigan @ Penn State
  • #17 North Carolina @ Virginia Tech
  • Georgia Tech @ Miami (FL)
  • Miami (OH) @ Massachusetts
  • #19 Houston @ Connecticut
  • #15 LSU @ #22 Ole Miss
  • Duke @ Virginia
  • #24 USC @ #23 Oregon
  • UCLA @ #13 Utah
  • #20 Northwestern @ #25 Wisconsin
  • Louisville @ Pittsburgh
  • Mississippi State @ Arkansas
  • #16 Navy @ Tulsa



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  1. Not a good comparison Robert B TCU had lost only one game until yesterday, it was to a team that was undefeated at the time. Oklahoma has lost only one game, to Texas.

    The Irish barely beat a team with only three wins, a team they should have run all over. I’m all for the Irish being in the playoffs but right now being honest, they don’t play like a playoff team. Their strength of schedule has proved to not be as strong as it looked or was assumed to be so they really have to easily win games against teams like BC and WF.
    You talk about conferences like the Big 12 but the truth is, no one knows how ND would do in any conference they’d join. They might excel or they may only occasionally make it to a conf championship game. I’d like to see them join a conference, I think it improves their chances to get in the playoffs. They could schedule USC and Stanford and even Navy for non conference opponents if those games are so important.
    The awful truth is, if the Irish played 4 of the top Big 12 teams like they played last night they’d have lost by 40 or points..IMHO

  2. It seems only ND can’t win close games without being under the radar. Other schools win close games and it’s Ok. Okl wins by one last night as a 18 pt fav. and plays a team without their starting QB and all you hear from experts what a great win it is, also they beat Baylor without their starting QB and they got blown out by Texas a team that ND. trounced. The Big 12 is a joke it’s video game football and the first team to get fifty points wins. If the Irish beat Stanford and don’t get a playoff spot it’s a joke.

  3. When you can only beat a three and eight team by three points it pretty much dooms your chances with other one loss teams that win games like this handily. Call it style points if you will but continually scraping by mediocre teams takes it toll on your overall record. ND may have just put themselves out of contention with the poor play in Boston.

  4. I agree some of those could be flipped. Presumably ND winning out. That would be tremendous. If Big 12 can all have at least one loss. That may seal it. I really think CFPC is reluctant towards them. Looking at their members. Made up of old school philosophy (assumption). Have ranked them lower than AP/Coaches each time. Big 10;, TOSU gets picked (not likely) and Iowa losses at least in their playoff. That could place ND a spot higher. Agree that they have to ride Clemsons coat tails. Just don’t see a one loss Big 12 school getting in at this point. Schedules are to soft and defenses give up to many Pts. SC or Stanford needs to take Pac12.

  5. I don’t think a Clemson loss dooms ND. But it does hurt our SOS. It would be better for ND if Clemson wins out, then our only loss would be a 2 point loss to an undefeated, good football team. A Clemson loss heavily diminishes that. Then it makes it easier (not guaranteed mind you, just easier) to leapfrog a potential 1 loss OK team over ND. That would be the danger in that case. That would be much harder to do if our only loss is an undefeated team.

  6. A Clemson loss “dooms ND”, no way. I’m not convinced that a 1 loss Clemson would remain above a 1 loss ND (yeah I know who we lost to). A Clemson loss late in the season against a team we might have beaten WF or to a possible 2 loss team UNC, doesn’t diminish our narrow loss (on the road, in a monsoon, with a dropped TD at the GL, a dropped 2 pt conversion, slippery ball fumbles) to Clemson. Let’s get them outta there. If only wishing could make it so…

  7. SEC could also be eliminated. They are down to two teams under 2 losses, and one has to lose the SEC championship. Also, AL still has Auburn and FL still has FL ST.

    Also, if Clemson loses to UNC, are they both out? What if one loses before the ACC title game?

  8. Some of those cheers I’m not sure about (some I’m not sure how they affect ND). I am perplexed about rooting for the Meatchickens (that’s 3 Burgundy) over PSU. Why? Plus it’s just not in my DNA to root for the meatchickens (4). If I have to root for them over OSU because MSU doesn’t get the job I will, but in that case it would have a direct correlation to our playoff hopes, but rooting for the meatchickens (5) this week doesn’t seem to me like it would matter.

    I think our best bet will be for the Big 10 to be knocked out of it. OSU and Iowa need to lose a game. We of course need to win out obviously. Those 2 things happen, the Big 10 and Pac 12 are out and we are in. That’s best case scenario. The Big 12 would be a bigger hurdle I think because we need OK and OK State to lose a game, and they have been playing pretty well as of late. OSU has been lackluster in many games and they are beatable by the right team. Iowa has been playing pretty well, but I’m not sure they could match up against a tougher opponent. If it comes down to Iowa vs OSU in the Big 10 championship and they are both undefeated, I think Iowa then would be our best bet. A 1 loss ND team may be able to keep ahead of undefeated Iowa because their SOS is so weak (though it still would be a big hurdle). Undefeated OSU is in though, no doubts there.

    Worse case scenario, undefeated Clemson (as noted above we need them to win out), OSU, OK State and 1 loss Alabama. ND is out. It’s over. Substitute 1 loss OK for OK State, I think is iffy. Like I noted before if they obliterate their next 2 opponents, I think it’s over. If they are close squeaker games, then we should have the edge.

  9. I was thinking that a PSU win over Michigan would be nice. They beat Michigan and then Michigan wins the following week against Ohio State. A loss to a three loss Michigan would look bad. If osu beats Mich State that takes state right out of the picture and then a loss to Michigan would make them look silly.

  10. N.D. wins out but finishes 5th, or looses to Stanford in a close game. Do they go to the same bowl game? Is there a scenario after beating Fredo going into Stanford they know for sure in or out? This year has been a blast.

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