Latest Rankings Deliver Crushing Blow to Notre Dame

Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire
Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

Notre Dame has not been overly impressive the last two weeks and the sloppy play has finally caught up to the Irish in the rankings even if it hasn’t on the scoreboard. Coming off their unimpressive 19-16 win over Boston College, Notre Dame fell all the way to #6 in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings and now find themselves in need of major help heading into their season finale against Stanford.

Notre Dame was ranked 4th in the last two College Football Playoff Rankings while Oklahoma checked in at #7, but on the heels of a 5 turnover performance against Boston College, the Irish have now fallen behind the Sooners enough that it might be impossible for them to jump them without a Sooners loss.

Oklahoma’s early season embarrassing loss to Texas has been erased from the memory of the committee apparently as the Sooners have played much better football of late including wins over Baylor and TCU teams both playing with backup quarterbacks.  While the merits of Oklahoma’s resume can be debated, and undoubtedly will be on Notre Dame message boards, Notre Dame really does only have itself to blame for its tumble.

Had Notre Dame come out and taken advantage of all of the opportunities in front of it this past weekend and posted a commanding victory, it’s hard to image them falling as far as they did this week.  Instead Notre Dame stumbled, bumbled, and fumbled around Fenway Park Saturday evening and gave the Committee every reason they needed to drop them in the rankings.

Checking in a #6 with Oklahoma #3 is going to make things very, very difficult for Notre Dame now.  Iowa and Michigan State checking at #5 and #4 isn’t nearly as much of a concern for Notre Dame since the two play each other.

Notre Dame’s opponents check in at #25 (Temple) and #15 (Navy) with #9 Stanford on the schedule this weekend.  Oklahoma meanwhile will face off with their in-state rival #11 Oklahoma State.  A win by Notre Dame in theory should be more impressive but the difference might be negligible.  Notre Dame most likely now needs Oklahoma State to pull the upset in order to stake a claim to a playoff spot even if they are able to win at Stanford for the first time since 2007 this weekend.

Notre Dame also needs all of its opponents to play well this weekend – specifically Navy, USC, Temple, and Pitt.  If all four win this weekend, there is a slight chance Notre Dame could end the season with five top 25 wins as Pitt and USC could sneak into the bottom of the top 25 with wins this weekend.

All is not lost for Notre Dame at this point, but tonight’s rankings just made Notre Dame’s road to playoffs a heck of a lot rockier than it was a week ago at this time.

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  1. No way Iowa should be ranked ahead of ND. Sure they are undefeated. However, they did not play Michigan, MSU and Ohio St. Their schedule is pitiful.

  2. All of fans heard what we wanted. We also didn’t listen to the whole message by long and CFPC. It was never a lock. Just solid at 4 at those dates. They made it clear big 12 still had to finish their round robin ) plus other remaining games) and those games would be a large factor and have an effect. Granted, some of ND’s victories could have been more dominating and also not given up slop time points. But they didn’t. Yes ND only has itself to hold accountable. Surely it was never a lock and only rankings at that particular week. With many important games/schools left to play out. Thanks.

  3. Baylor lost, and at least 3 of the 4 B1G teams left in the top 10 have to lose this week or next too. If ND beats Stanford, that leaves 3 spots for (1) Clemson; (2) AL; (3) OK; (6) ND. We just need 1 more of Clemson/AL/OK to lose.

    Would like to see FL St beat FL too and NC St beat UNC so Clem and AL have one more chance to lose in their conference championships without upsetting the apple cart for ND.

    Out of the B1G, I suppose maybe MI could win it but not get in, but I can’t bring myself to root for MI in any scenario. Besides, even though they’re 10th, there’s no guarantee they would not skip up to 4th with wins over OH St and IO to end it. The B1G probably just gets a spot. None of the other conferences are really locked in yet.

  4. You haven’t traveled much have you southside?

    I agree Burgundy..Texas probably makes more off their own network too, but it seems like there’s not much middle ground when it comes to ND people are either fans or they hate them.

    Pretty soon if they aren’t doing it already, coaches and recruiters will start explaining to recruits that a team in their conference always makes it to a playoff. They’ll tout the additional conference awards available to recruits that excel. They’ll point out a season like this and say ND went 11-1 and still didn’t make it in.

    When ND begins to lose recruits and finds it difficult to get quality coaches then they’ll have to re-consider their independence. If and when it gets to that point they’ll no longer be bargaining from a position of power, maybe the people from Mendoza can explain it to the Diehards.

  5. SOS took major hit today no thanks to Navy and Pitt. That’s what you get when you put your fate in the hands of third-rate teams you should’ve destroyed in the first place.

    Like I’ve said ND has no one to blame for their current fate but themselves.

  6. Dear University of Notre Dame , please don’t ever join a Conference. You are a college football legend whether through winning or losing seasons. From sea to shining sea , from sushi bars in Japan to October fest in Germany , to sheep herders at foot of Mt Everest to a Russian Kosack dancer in Moscow Square— when they are asked — What does college football mean to you in the U.S —- their reply will be — NOTRE DAME . Go Irish.

  7. Indiana makes more annually from the B1G Network than ND does from the NBC contract, jealousy only exists from lack of knowledge.

  8. MTA

    I’ve read interviews with Willingham where he said he still roots for the Irish, except when they play Stanford.(He’s a season ticket holder).
    Yes Alvarez has B10 ties but it was his job at ND that propelled him to a Head Coach job at Wisconsin. One of his former players is now a coach at ND. Todd Lycht.
    As for Ms. Rice, she’s always been a big football fan and as SOS she often said her dream job was NFL Commish. Maybe they do have bias against ND but there are definite connections.
    I agree with the jealousy over the NBC contract, even regular fans seem to have an opinion about that. Living here in Florida and being an ND fan you hear it all the time. Noles fans think ND gets special treatment and cite some type of Catholic conspiracy. Gator fans too, only they seem to be a bit more moderate.

    Whether ND had the NBC contract or not, if they joined a conference, they’d be on TV every week. This season games that weren’t telecast on NBC were on one of the other networks and in the primetime time slot most times.

    I do believe that ND will soon find itself having to join a conference. They may be the last FBS independent standing but they will submit to the NCAA’s corporate wishes or they will begin to feel the economic pinch as the ND brand is knocked down with negative press etc. It’s nothing personal mind you, just business.

  9. @michaelthearchangel… Not new just rarely comment. Been coming here since “thebluegraysky” stopped posting just after the weis era. I just think we all need to be a little more optomistic here. We’re having a better season than we could’ve all hoped. I still think we’re making the playoff with a win over Stanford. Let’s just hope we don’t play Bama haha. Go Irish!!!

  10. “Talk like adults on here”!
    You can tell you’re new to the web site comments, Kyle.
    Don’t let the encouraged self-imposed death threats scare you away.

    Good comment earlier. A win in a New Years Day bowl would be good, and necessary, especially if ND loses to Stanford. Considering losing 10 starters, a New Years bowl invite and victory would be a noteworthy finish. 13-1 would be sweet, but 12-1 ain’t dog meat.

    I’d love to eat crow in December and find out ND makes the final four. As for today, I’m eating turkey.

    Blessed Thanksgiving, one and all.

  11. @mzipprich couldn’t we have had an opinion without the death threat? I see what you’re saying and I agree… we should always be playoff or bust and I’m one of the few on here that think a win at Stanford is all we need, but perception is important unfortunately in college football too. People remembered Michigan State beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl and finishing #2/#3 and fhey seem to be doing fine. Let’s just talk like adults on here.

  12. My ‘dreams” of a national championship for ND aren’t quite as graphic. And only a dreamer can see an ND road to the championship this season. But shit happens- so stay tuned.

    Re: suspected bias. Have at it. There’s plenty of ammo. Let me count the ways.

    Willingham didn’t exactly leave ND on a homecoming float; why does that severed tie benefit ND? Alvarez has Big Ten ties more recently than he does with ND. And the former Big East guy might remembert ND abandoning its conference. Vandy guy obviously has SEC connections and there also sits a Big 12 guy. And BTW, why does a former Sect.of State get a vote on who are the best four teams? Why not a five-star general, or the postmaster general (while there’s still postal service), or a former Senator who now works for lobbyists who owned him the whole time?
    I don’t believe we can assume all can objectively be free from bias, especially those who are still associated with conferences- be they a conference ref or on a playoff committee. Judges, principals, teachers, and bishops have bias- so do refs and playoff committee members. That’s human nature- not conspiratorial or paranoid.

    Look! If one thing is obvious after this season, with today’s parity in college football, four won’t do.
    As for the comment every game is exciting because it’s make-or-break, it is for ND- not so much last year w/OSU or this year w/OK or Alabama. As for those who don’t believe ND having their own national network doesn’t prompt jealousy- what can I say to you?

  13. So I was tossing and turning last night, struggling to sleep with my erection, when I slipped into a dream state. In it I saw. Florida State beat Florida. Then Florida beat Alabama. And the SEC was out.

    ND, having beaten Stanford by 21, was in, and handled Clemson in the first round because they knew they could.

    I then awoke, sweating and panting through a slight smile; my wife beaming llike she hasn’t in years.

    May you all dream so well, and satisfy your wives throughout the holidays.

  14. Not sure I like the present playoff system but it has made every game of our season meaningful. For that, I say, college football is without peer in the sports world. Every game a season.

    Now if they could find a way to restore the old rivalries, and find a way that Notre Dame can have a fair shot at a national championship without having to go undefeated, I would say they got it just right.

    Go Irish.

  15. I think the playoffs will evolve as MTA suggests and maybe end up as a six team playoff with the champion from each Power 5 conference and one at large berth. Unlike some I’d like to see ND join a conference. I believe until they do, they put themselves at a definite disadvantage to getting in the playoffs. Navy saw the writing on the wall and joined a conference, there’s really only 3 independents left. BYU’s coach sees the writing on the wall and he wants his school to join a power five conference. If ND waits too long they’ll probably lose a lot of bargaining power they could have had if not for dragging out the inevitable.

  16. MTA
    l I saw one article where they thought ND might end up in a bowl game with FSU. That would be interesting with all the hype of Golson going against his old team..even though it appears Maquire is now considered the starter.

  17. Credit where credit is due (It’s an old Jewish tradition).
    Burgundy called it.
    Imagine the chatter before the final vote from Big 12 ACs if you banished the Big 12 two years in a row!
    You have three Big !2 teams in consideration, and one of them is likely to go.
    Whoever wins in OKlahoma gets their cred, and will remain in the hunt. Then there’s Baylor close behind.

    Add to that three Big 10 teams currently in the top 8. . . Likely one of them gets to the final four.
    No room for ND in the Playoff Inn this holiday season unless all kinds of craziness goes down.

    After a couple more seasons of why not me high profile teams who don’t make the final four, they’ll be a final six (with #1 and #2 w/ a bye) or eight. With parity evident, it only makes sense.

    Early ‘projected Peach’ & Fiesta invitees have been posted as Ohio State in one, and Michigan in the other if they beat OSU. Now wouldn’t that be interesting going against Harbaugh’s Michigan or Meyer’s OSU on New Year’s Day! Stay tuned.

  18. I agree ND did this to themselves. They should have beat Clemson. However ND still doesn’t have any quality wins, and that’s obviously a factor.

  19. You know Burgundy I believed there was some anti Irish bias on the committee and then I read the bios of the members. Some have ND connections. Condalezza Rice even has a Masters degree from ND so no more anti bias complaints from me.

  20. Can we please stop either demonizing or lionizing BC. ND did this to itself. If the Irish just kick chip-shot FGs on their many failed Red Zone trips, they win by double digits. If, in addition, the ND D kept the BC O out of the end zone at the end of the game, they probably win by enough to stay in the top 4. Unlike 1993 and 2002 or 2003, ND outplayed BC and beat them. The Irish just didn’t take advantage of the opponent and now is paying the price for their lack of killer instinct, which has been a problem throughout the BK era.

    Go Irish! Beat Stanford!

  21. I’ll take a playoff appearance and loss, over a means nothing exhibition game win in a New Years Six bowl, even if it is a blowout in one or both situations. Reason being, playoffs means something to recruits. Without looking at the internet, and going based on memory, who played in last years New Years six, or the one before. I can’t. I can tell you I remember who played in the playoffs, or the BCS’s championship games.

  22. This ACC tie-in is what’s killing ND this year. ND had to play SIX of those scrubs (going forward only having to play five will help). Then factor in an AAC team and the second worst MAC team there is (who ND struggled against for an entire half) and it’s no wonder they got dismissed. Beat Stanford and get into a nice bowl where they belong, but ND doesn’t deserve playoffs this year. Perhaps the injuries finally caught up.

  23. @ George…”we now don’t have to worry about Derrick Henry turning Joe Schmidt into roadkill.”
    I am so with you on that one George. In keeping with the rest of the BC debacle, maybe #41 should have bobbled that onside kick so that our x-fense (I took the ‘de’ outta defense) could prove once again …they SUCK.

    “Maybe if BK hadn’t gone for two against Clemson…” you are referring to the 2 point conversion attempt to #88 earlier, right? That attempt was doomed the second #88 dropped the TD pass at the goal line earlier. He’s not the Admiral, that’s for sure. But then again, some of the credit has to go Kizer’s way. So #88 is like 7′ tall, 9′ with arms extended, leaps another 2’…we’re taliking 11’…think maybe Kizer could have thrown that ball just a foot lower?

    Just to show what utter BS the committee is…if he makes that play and we convert the extra point at game’s end… Clemson is #6 we are #1, shit x-fense and all. The only question remaining is, does BVG have a solution to stop McCaffery? Probably not. It’s over boys and girls, the fat lady has sung.

  24. I just think all the injuries have caught up to ND and no team could survive this amount. They will
    give an all out effort Sat but will probably lose. GO IRIS

  25. 45er,

    This new PO system is nothing but a money-grab by the NCAA. You’re totally right about that.

    I just think that in light of not having an objective scoring or ranking system, it’s all too subjective still, based on human polls and preferences.

    Like your points about the old days, too. Barry versus Tom, Bo versus Woody, Lou versus Darrel….

    Go Irish!

    Give me the old days that were at least honest about subjectivity to this faux objectivity we have today.

  26. I think overall the committee has been generally fair. The only team I sort of take issue with right now is OK being ahead, because loss to loss, their loss to Texas was worse than ours to Clemson. But at the same time, it’s hard to argue that OK is playing good football right now. ND just chose the worse time to play lackluster games.

    But I don’t believe there’s been any bias for or against ND.

  27. If Ncar beat Clemson they should get in my beef is with Okl getting in over us, hopefully it won’t matter. Beat Stanford and a Okl loss would do the trick.

  28. Festive board this morning!
    Zipprick called for a murder, Jorge somehow thinks a 2 point play in October impacted last week and Bobby thinks the rambling wreck is a good win.
    You can’t use this common opponent criteria only if it suits you Bob, unless of course you are ok with UNC utilizing it to jump ND should they win the ACC.
    I am somewhat disappointed in all you mouth breathers that the ND bias card has been played yet. Step up your collective games!

  29. What makes SEC so great every team has at least three losses or more except Bama (home loss) to Ole Miss and Fla which beat Vandy by three and Fla Atl by six in overtime as a 30 pt fav. When the Irish played G Tech they were ranked in the top five and we crushed them, USC was a preseason top ten team and we beat them, and as far as Navy which experts don’t think was a good win, ask any coaches of the top ten if they would want to play Navy and I think the answer would be NO. I still feel if ND and OKL finish 11-1 the Irish should get the spot based on our loss compared to their loss and the one common opponent in Texas.

  30. Maybe if BK hadn’t gone for two against Clemson we wouldn’t have to worry about needing to recover an onsides kick in order to beat the worst offense in the country… offense that figured out how to move the ball against ND in the second half. Oh well, at least with being eliminated from the PO we now don’t have to worry about Derrick Henry turning Joe Schmidt into roadkill.

  31. Kyle, you are a moron with that statement “I think what we need to think about too is would it be worth it to not make the playoff, and then win a big bowl game compared to making the playoff and potentially getting blown out.” Please find a gun and kill yourself.

  32. While we might be out of a playoff spot (which I don’t think we are if we beat Stanford in any fashion), I think what we need to think about too is would it be worth it to not make the playoff, and then win a big bowl game compared to making the playoff and potentially getting blown out. Perception is everything and looking ahead to the future, it might not be the worst thing in the world to end the season 12-1 with something like a Fiesta Bowl win. Just my two cents, but whether we make or don’t make the playoff, there will be fierce debate if we’re 11-1. A Fiesta Bowl win might set us up nicely for next year and help us finish out this recruiting class strong. I think we’re in a win-win here as long as we just beat Stanford (which has proven to be no easy task).

  33. I agree, and thought, the BC game may have cost us a playoff spot. Wake Forest didn’t seem to hurt. I think what the committee saw there was yes, ND didn’t play it’s best game, but still won by 21 points. In a way that was impressive–while there was poor play ND still managed to win by 21. But beating BC by 3 when your hanging by a thread on the CFB poll. No.

    All the Irish can do at this point is beat Stanford by as much as possible. Of course, lose and you were never in. But winning may not be enough. I think if OK beats OK State by any score, it’s probably over for the CFB unless the Big 10 completely implodes and limps to it’s conference game (basically we would need Iowa and Michigan State to lose another game).

    Some pundits think ND needs to join a conference. To that I say a resounding NO. Yes a conference championship would probably help this year. But that won’t always be the case. ND would have to give up too much. We would just be like any other team first of all. Some have complained about having to play 5 ACC games every year. Make that 8 or 9 and you’d take away our ability to schedule nationally. And I think that would hurt recruiting. It’s not easy getting kids to go to South Bend, Indiana already when they can go to Southern California or Florida. Being on national TV week after week is a big draw. Finally, yes the NBC contract we get criticized for by other fans. I always ask those fans, would you give that up? If ND did join a conference and gave that up, those same fans would be saying how stupid ND was for giving that up. And critics never get their facts straight. That money does not go to the football program or even athletics. It goes to the school for academics. How can you criticize that.

    While it would be hugely disappointing, the only thing I would throw out there is a NY Day 6 bowl should still be a big deal. Consider how many starters we lost, not the least of which is our QB. We’re essentially playing our 3rd string QB coming out of the spring. A NY Day 6 bowl would still be quite a feat under those circumstances. If we end up in a NY Day bowl, I only hope the team still plays to its potential and not be so disappointed they didn’t get to the playoff that they lose.

  34. I don’t see the Irish dominating Stanford, although I’d love to see that happen. I’d also love to see Oklahoma State beat OU. Sloppy play, which seems to be the hallmark of Notre Dame at times, is what cost us the #4 slot. Will the sloppy play continue this Saturday? I hope not.


  35. We did not take care of business. We deserve this demotion. Don’t be delusional.

    Based on the last several games, we are not elite. I am worried that Stanford will beat us by 20+. I hope I am wrong.

    Overall, this team is impressive because of the adversity we dealt with. However, we totally lack killer instinct. 6 th is generous.


  36. Iowa? With a loss. Depends on Stanford, Navy, SC. ND could be the defacto champion of the Pac12 and AAC. What if Michigan takes Big10 with two losses. One being Utah. Who SC beat. So nothing was in stone until conferences played out anyways. Week to week. It wasn’t just, B.C and W.F. True underperformed. But won. Hold your breath. Who knows. Nah I wasn’t surprised. Thanks.

  37. @SteelFanRob
    I am really on your side with the conferences. I to miss The SWC, the slew of independents. There was a bunch of them. The big 8. Those games were great. Texas too. Pitt and PSU was a big deal.. These super conferences may lead to just the same schools most of the time. Revenue. Schools need conference $. Doesn’t leave room for more schools to rise like some did back then. Sure helped the SEC though. Thanks.

  38. I can’t believe any of you are surprised at this. Poor games against Wake and BC, A strength of schedule that wasn’t as strong as it looked preseason. No conference championship win or even the title of being named champion. The Irish will get a good bowl invitation but they’re finished, even if they beat Stanford. While they sit in South Bend, other one loss teams will be playing another week. If Iowa wins out and has only one loss in the B10 championship, they’d have a better claim to get in than ND because they played an extra game.
    This is a good team, they faced a lot of adversity with injuries that would have folded most other teams including the ones in the top four..But when you look at the numbers and the under performance against mediocre teams like the two worst teams in the ACC the Irish aren’t going to make the cut this time.

  39. should never play road or neutral site game this late in year. playing boston college at south bend would have easier than playing in boston. nd has had only 1 home game since the October 17th game against so. cal. poor scheduling has put this team on the road the whole second half, with all the injuries, there is no place like home for the new players to gain confidence and play better.

  40. The time to possibly gripe is placement in the final poll to determine the playoff contenders. Some will disagree, but, style points do count and an ugly egg was laid last week at Fenway that had bearing on today’s poll release. Focus: Stanford, execution: to be efficient on all sides, outcome: a dominant performance ( play up instead of down for a change, to an opponent). Pound the Cardinal and go Irish, astroblast Stanford!!!

    May the men in Gold & Blue rise triumphantly

  41. Obviously losses don’t mean s*** to the committee. Didn’t last year, doesn’t this year…OU has an embarrassing loss on their resume, just like OSU last year but who cares I guess. The committee clearly looks at “bad wins” more negatively. I really need an explanation from the committee on that one.

  42. I agree on those points. A lot can still indeed happen. Hopefully, ND dominates Stanford and finds a new attitude to take into the POs and into next season and beyond.

    I think the BCS and now POs are a joke anyways. It’s still ultimately subjective and a beauty contest at the end of the day.

    Call me crazy, but I prefer the old pre-BCS system with all the “mythical champs,” fan debates, different polls, old-school conferences (e.g., SWC), traditional rivalries, etc. How I miss OU-Nebraska, Pitt-PSU, etc.! These new geographically incoherent and super-sized conferences have robbed us of some of those old rivalries.

    It seems that the BCS and current PO are still based on subjective polls. So let’s go back to the good old days and admit that it’s all a matter of opinion in the end.

    Call me a nostalgic fool, I guess.

    Go Irish!

  43. OK St., Baylor? The remaining week games? All the Championship games? Still to many possibilities. Stanford and Navy taking their conferences? That was needed to before the B.C. game. S.C. taking the Pac12 South. Clemson too! Riding their coat tails. Iowa, Bama and Florida. Big 10 east and west. Surely some unexpected outcomes will happen. Always do. I’ll be grateful for a win at Stanford. CFPC has always stated this is fluid week to week. Nothing was going to be determined until after conference championships. This is why college ball is entertaining. At least to me. Thanks.

  44. The only thing I think people keep forgetting is that these rankings are a reflection of what has happened up until this point. I think if the Irish win next week, even if it’s a close fought game, the B10 will figure itself out and then we’ll be pitted up against OU. I truly believe that the UT games make all the difference in the world here, but who knows. Front to back we played a consistently harder schedule than OU, whereas they played a mediocre/shit schedule for most of the year. Win next week and I think we’re fine.

  45. Screw joining a conference. Why? They’re not out and CFPC gave them opportunity. 11-1 would have, and could get them in. See how the chips fall. As for joining a conference. What monetary sense does that make? That would surely be the kiss of death. ND is a national brand to boot. Would lose that too. So many reasons to stay independent. CFP is going to increase school #’s at some point. Thanks.

  46. Predictabled.

    Jerron Jones had the perfect tweet. “they spit in our faces”. Make it rage in palo alto. The Irish don’t have to win, they have to dominate.

  47. This is not a surprise. Play like shit against mediocre teams and this is what you get. No signature wins this year. Oops my bad we beat Navy.

  48. Do they watch the games, I know the score of 19 -16 win wasn’t impressive but it if you watched the game the Irish were dominate for about 98% of the game, one B C score came on an 80 run and their first 3 pts came after they ran the second half kick back to the ND 27 and went nowhere, and the last score came with a minute to go in game. Okl beats a beat up TCU team by 1 pt and only because TCU decided to go for 2 pt conv. at end of game and everyone goes gaga over them. I guess the loss they had against a Texas team that we crushed and a Texas team that came off a 50 pt loss to TCU the week before doesn’t matter. If ND goes 11-1 and don’t get in playoff they better think about joining a conf. if a National title means anything to them.

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