Notre Dame Waits for Others 12th Data Point, To Atone for Losses

Notre Dame finishing the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record has Notre Dame fans euphoric.   It has fans of almost every other program in the country in a hissy fit as they complain about Notre Dame not having to play in a conference championship this weekend.  It’s not fair they say.  And they are right in a way.  It’s not fair.  Notre Dame has already played and beat 12 teams from the FBS this season so really, the Irish are just waiting for everyone else to catch up.

Here is the list of current programs who have 12 wins this season against FBS opponents.

1. Notre Dame

/end list

That’s right, heading into Championship Weekend, Notre Dame is the only program in the country to have already beaten 12 FBS foes.  Alabama beat The Citadel (after being tied at half time), #2 Clemson opened the season against Furman (while Notre Dame was hosting a current top 10 opponent), and #4 Georgia opened with Austin Peay (again, while Notre Dame hosted Michigan). To #5 Oklahoma and #6 Ohio State’s credit, neither scheduled an extra bye week with a FCS opponent, but both also only have 11 wins against FBS opponents beings as they both have a one in the L column.

While Ohio State and Oklahoma will be adding a 13th data point this weekend, their extra data point over the Irish will also be something else Notre Dame doesn’t have – a loss.  In Oklahoma’s case the Sooners can at least make the argument that they lost to a ranked team – Texas.  Ohio State on the other hand lost by 29 points to unranked Purdue last month.  Just to put that in context, Notre Dame lost by 28 to Alabama six years ago and that game is still used against Notre Dame with regularity.

A lot of media hacks like Danny Kannell are decrying that the Irish won’t be playing and plenty of talking heads are talking about how it’s not fair the Irish don’t have to play this weekend.  Well, was it fair when Notre Dame played Michigan week one while Clemson and Georgia opened the season against FCS teams?  I don’t think there was the same outcry then about how unfair it was that Notre Dame was playing a real game while those schools scheduled glorified scrimmages.

A lot of these same hacks didn’t seem to mind that Alabama sat idle this same weekend a year ago and still made the College Football Playoffs because it was clear that The Crimson Tide were one of the four best teams in the country.   You know, despite only having 10 wins against FBS opponents last year.  Where was this same outcry then?

They then proved they were worthy by winning the whole damn thing.

Not too many freaked out when Ohio State snuck into the playoffs without even playing in the Big Ten title game two years ago either. Penn State finished just outside the top 4 even though they won the Big 10 and beat Ohio State head to head earlier in the season.  Penn State had more losses though and got blown out by Michigan in one of them.

Both sat at home eating cheeseburgers on championship Saturday those respective years but both still made the playoffs and there weren’t all of these calls for expansion or a conference championship requirement then.

Other than Georgia and Alabama, it’s really hard to argue that it’s unfair to Ohio State and Clemson that Notre Dame isn’t playing this weekend either when the Irish already played and beat both of their conference championship game opponents – Pitt and Northwestern – already this season.

For all the talk about how “unfair” it is that Notre Dame is off this weekend after they already took care of their business this season, no one would be talking about how it’s “unfair” that one loss teams like Ohio State, Georgia, and Oklahoma are all still alive for the playoff race because of their conference championship games.  Notre Dame, as an independant, does not have that same luxury, but they do not use it as excuse.  Notre Dame knows that to reach the playoffs they essentially have to go undefeated in the regular season to ensure they make it.  It’s a disadvantage to being an independant and not having that conference championship game as a fall back like the current one-loss teams that are still alive.

Now that it is all but certain that Notre Dame will make the playoffs, prepare for a barrage of “Notre Dame must join a conference” type articles because people are upset that Notre Dame proved it doesn’t need a conference the playoffs.  Fans of programs who couldn’t survive in today’s college football landscape without the crutch of a conference don’t like to see Notre Dame prosper while remaining independent because they can’t do the same.

Let’s think about this for a second.  If being an independent was such an advantage, wouldn’t other programs be trying to follow suit?  Instead the last 10 years has seen conferences only try to expand and grab more power.  Notre Dame all the while has doubled down on remaining independent and has not had any problems finding dance partners to fill out its schedule each year.  Notre Dame’s added matchups with the likes of Ohio State, Georgia, Arkansas, and Wisconsin in recent year while also having the flexibility to do things like play another game in Ireland in 2020.

This is not to say that Notre Dame is better than Alabama or Clemson or that they should be ranked ahead of them.  But rather it’s to point out that Notre Dame already proved what they needed to this year.  They won 12 games all of which were against teams from the FBS.  They traveled the country in November playing their last 5 games in 5 cities over the final 5 weeks of the year (including one at the end of October).  And they did that all without losing a single game this season.  No one else in the country can say that.

And if you you’re one of those folks saying that Notre Dame hasn’t proved itself yet, to you I’d say, “If they haven’t done that for you by now, well then it ain’t never gonna happen.”

So Notre Dame will sit back this weekend and wait for some of its peers to join them on the list of programs to have 12 wins against FBS teams this weekend.  Right now it’s a pretty lonely list.

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  1. Brad, a 13th game against Hawaii would not help a hypothetical 12- 1 ND team get in over any 12 -1 Power 5 Conference Champ anyway, so what’s the point? In 1989 we finished 12-1 with a “Kickoff Classic” win over Virginia…one game better than 11-1 Miami…but lost in the polls, and rightly so, because we lost to Miami head-to-head. The 13th game doesn’t matter in real life.

    But the good news is this: Our “critics” may very well get to see Notre Dame in a Championship game this very season! Would that make you boys happy? Let’s see how you like us then!

    BGC ’77 ’82

  2. I’ve asked this question before but I will ask again. What is to stop Notre Dame from picking up another game in their schedule. If SEC can feast on teams like East Appalachian Technical Institute (not sure that is even a school) why can’t the Irish. Pick up a game against a soft opponent, whale the tar out of them and take the steam out of the naysayer arguments.

    Am I missing something?

    Go Irish!!!


    1. I believe it’s something in the NCAA rules that they are only allowed to have 12 regular season games. There’s different rules to how many home games, FCS games and so forth they can play also. But I’m pretty sure ND can’t schedule a 13th game without it being a conference championship game.

      1. Damian,

        If they play at Hawaii, they can get a 13th game. It’s a loophole in the 12 game limit.

        But like BGC says, a win at Hawaii doesn’t help the Irish. 12-0 with the current schedule and 13-0 with an August win over Hawaii provide, pretty much, them same resume.

        It also doesn’t help the Irish overcome a loss. A 12-1 ND isn’t helped by a victory over Hawaii.

  3. Let them bitch..who cares..everybody has a ND
    take..and some are not half bad even when they
    hate..kinda like how they try so damn hard to
    take ND season n make it seem as if they want
    Kelly and the Irish too apoligizes for being 12 n 0
    Fing peeps mad that Kelly did it agian..guy can
    coach..i not like him much but best we had since holtz
    and i give the butthead his props..

  4. Notre Dame will never join a conference
    Academics number one reason. If you join a
    conference then ND can recruit like the
    other schools do. That will Never go over
    at ND. Academics are first….that’s why
    these football factories are just that.

  5. Danny is still mad about Bobby Taylor knocking him down for the scoop and score. Throw in Desmond Howard, Robert Smith and Pretty Boy…I’m not good enough for the NFL Leinart. Up your Southside fellas.

  6. Notre Dame join a conference? No problem…as long as that conference allows Notre Dame to do so without requiring Notre Dame to sign our own TV rights over to that conference (nor to the NCAA in any form).

    And if our critics cannot find a major conference that will allow us to join and also keep OUR OWN TV rights, then that begs for this question: Is it, after all, about a championship game, or is it REALLY about the TV rights?

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. Nah, I’m happy being independent. I’m not even overly fond of our commitment to play so many ACC games each year, though I understand why that was done and despite not being fond of it I agree with it. We needed the bowl tie ins for football, and obviously a home for other sports (and the basketball team has faired pretty well in the ACC I might add).

      But I don’t even want to flirt with the idea of joining a conference full time. I think the Irish would have to give up too much, and not just TV money. Scheduling flexibility would be severely curtailed, we’d have to give up a lot on that front. Money with our bowl tie ins is another. And national exposure would be effected. For a time it would be a novelty, but after 2 or 3 years we’d just be another CFB team.

      1. Notre Dame is in a class by itself. Even the regularly scheduled are parasites. They are all conference teams. This helps their national recruiting. BYU was one of last remaining independents and they succumbed to membering up. Notre Dame in Notre Dame Indiana ( thought you’d like that Hank) is the original, lots of imitations far and wide, high schools and colleges.

      2. Ha-ha Greg. Hank would be happy at last nights Basketball game the ESPNU announcer said they were coming from Notre Dame Indiana, and not South Bend

    2. The weakness of Clemson’s schedule this year suggests that if Notre Dame joined the ACC it would weaken its schedule as well.

  7. Good article, Frank!

    ND plays one of the hardest schedules every year and everyone knows this regardless of which team they root for. They simply make excuses, usually blaming Navy, for ND having a “weak” schedule, lmao!! It was funny how I heard from OSU fans for the longest time about Navy and then back a few years ago, Navy damn near beat them at home in the last minutes of the game. Yeah, Navy’s a real cupcake huh!?

    If you look at the names of the teams alone that are on ND’s schedule, considering their recent and past success, and the recruits that these teams bring in every year, you think how the hell is ND going to run through this schedule without a loss? The overwhelming majority of teams could not run through the schedule ND has without losing a game, regardless of the seasons these teams are having. Even a 6 loss USC team, we were all a little worried because they have the athletes to match up with almost any team in the country, that they could pull off an upset. They are simply poorly coached, but doesn’t mean they aren’t a formidable team that can legitimately scare any opponent.

    What pisses me off more than anything though is the bias within the committee and voters. How in the world is Clemson ranked ahead of ND considering EVERYTHING top to bottom of each teams’ season so far? Clemson played in the TRASH ACC. I think every team in the ACC besides Clemson has 4 or more losses and they are playing a 5 loss PITT team in their championship game. Texas A&M is their “signature” win with 4 losses. It is a freakin joke and clearly shows the bias in the voters. They love Saban, they love Dabo, and they love Meyer…and not to mention they love the SEFC. I just don’t get it. The only thing I can think is that Clemson has beaten a couple cupcakes by like 50 points, where ND just doesn’t do that. Should ND make this a focus on top of just winning? It sure seems like it. The committee seems obsessed with teams that can score score score but can’t defend. That doesn’t matter. If you give up 50, no problem, as long as you can score 60 a game. These teams almost never win championships (as they face real Ds in bowl games) yet they get voted into the playoffs over more deserving teams. I could go on and on but would be writing a book (as if I haven’t in this post, sorry :))

    1. Yeah, that’s another thing that irritates me. “You play Navy every year”. Ugh, how I hate that. First of all, they are still an FBS school. I don’t want to hear any fan of any school that plays FCS teams spew that garbage. Because guess what. Navy can beat most FCS schools on most days too.

      And yeah, OSU almost learned that the hard way several years back. They got caught looking ahead to their ‘big’ game with USC, making the mistake of not taking Navy seriously. One thing any team should now about Navy most years is they don’t like being overlooked. If you’re not paying attention they can beat you. OSU was just lucky they woke up late in the game and realized Navy came to play.

      Now Navy isn’t like playing Alabama, or Clemson, or Oklahoma. But you know what, no one plays Alabama every week, or Clemson, or Oklahoma. We all play some teams that aren’t as good as some others. So it’s a meaningless argument.

      And ND has never played an FCS school, and I seriously doubt we ever will.

    2. Notre Dame is hated simply because its a Catholic institution. I am not Catholic (use to be) but I love Notre Dame. Many haters don’t hate Notre Dame they hate the Catholic part of it!

      1. When someone asks the obvious we always say “ is the Pope Catholic? “ I was one of a family of 12 kids. A fellow teen across the street would ask me “ what are your parents trying to do, populate the world?” Hatred is based on fear.
        When my younger brothers were 4 and 5 they played indoor football the living room couch was the end zone!

  8. First, to imply that ND didn’t schedule ANY cupcakes, after you beat MI it was smooth sailing,
    If you beat all those teams in 2001 that would be a remarkable undefeated season…

    You’re undefeated please stop and enjoy it… no matter what, YOU are in the college football playoffs!
    please remember this, I said it first here:
    There will be 3 other teams with far better athletes who are coached at a level so far above everyone
    (including Brian Kelly) else like the great coaches of Notre Dame PAST. If Notre Dame wins 1 game
    during the playoffs it will be because of those boys out playing their opponent on every play.
    Congrats on the great season, I hope my Buckeyes get in and square off against the Irish in the first round!

    1. You want to play Notre Dame in the playoffs? Hasn’t Ohio State had enough trouble with teams from Indiana with far worse athletes than Notre Dame this season?

      1. Right on Frank!

        As well as possibly the worst pass in the history of college football on a 2 pt conversion for the win against a terrible Maryland team from having 2 losses…

      2. You gotta love how another team’s fan makes their way to a ND site to bash the Irish. Worry about your own team.

        My two most hated CFB teams are Michigan and Miami. But I can honestly say I’ve never trolled their websites, official or otherwise. Frankly, I got better things to do.

    2. I’d like to see us play too. But I don’t see us playing in the first round. So the reason that I’d like to see us play is I’d much rather play OSU than Alabama. 🙂 Anyway, thanks, and good luck this week.

    3. WOW so much to say after getting BLOWN OUT by PURDUE! PURDUE? PURDUE SUCKS and they scored 49 pts against you buckass!! THEN a bad 2pt pass away from losing to a bad MARYLAND team, who lost the following week 38-3!! 49 pts given up to PURDUE, 51 pts given up to MARYLAND, oh yeah and coming from behind to beat the worst NEBRASKA team in 60 years!! I guess you forget NEBRASKA led at halftime and the hometown buckass fans booed them off the field, yet cheered for a coach who covered up for his wife beating assistant! What a break it would be to get OSU in the first rd instead of CLEMSON!! AS for coaches urban lier has taken 2 coaches from the ND staff over the past 9 years!! Better luck next year buckass!!

      1. Yawn. Ohio State would love to play ND in the bowl season again. Always a nice easy win. ND will not win another game this season. Probably won’t be OSU, but someone will have an easy path to the championship game.

    4. So much nonsense in this comment.

      1. “First to imply…smooth sailing”

      The punctuation alone is horrifying. You are missing a main point. Also, Notre Dame didn’t schedule cupcakes. We scheduled elite programs who happened to have down years. Still, none of them lost to Purdue by double digits.

      2. “it will be because of those boys outplaying their opponent on every play”

      That’s usually how teams win. You outplay the other guys.

      3. “3 other teams…who are coached at a level so far above everyone else”

      Except one another? Or except everyone outside those 3? It doesn’t matter which 3? Just think about this statement for a while. You’re saying that there are 3 teams coached at a level “so far” (soooo far, you guys) above other teams—but it doesn’t matter which 3. Take a stand and state which teams are “so far” above.


      I’ve met many OSU fans. None of them would ever end an internet comment like this. You’re a bad troll. Think about that. The easiest thing in the world to be is an internet troll. You are bad at being an internet troll. Just do the equation.

  9. Yeah, it’s a lousy argument and hypocritical. FCS teams hardly count. On a rare occasion they give an FBS a game and may even beat them, but most of the time they are glorified practices.

    I’m so sick of the “ND Should Join a Conference” shtick. It’s old and tired. ND doesn’t get a gimme loss like Alabama does, or OSU sometimes. Last year if Georgia was our only loss we would have made it in. But that is very much the exception and depends on a lot of factors going our way with other teams losing, like happened last year. This year, no way, 1 loss and ND would have been out.

    And trust me, if ND did join a conference these same people would be saying what idiots ND was for giving up their flexibility, and their giving up all that money with NBC and bowl tie-ins.

    You know what it is really, jealousy. They hate that ND doesn’t have to kowtow to their conference like their teams do. They hate that ND is on national TV every week. They hate that ND recruits nationally and plays teams from multiple conferences. And yes, they hate that ND is in the CFB playoff and not have to play one more game.

    What really opened my eyes to all that BS was back in 2006 when Oregon fans were so upset that ND got a BCS bowl over their their team with 2 losses. And yet not a single word was said about FSU getting a BCS bowl with 4 losses and ranked number 22. Not a word. You’re mad about ND getting a BCS game with 2 losses and a top 10 ranking, but ok with a team with 4 losses and not even a top 20 ranking. Hypocrites.

    1. I don’t know. I’m sure some people are jealous, but I more get the idea that people feel threatened. The more legitimate contenders there are, the fewer chances that “their” team gets in. So, we’re the new kid on the block, and we’re also the only kid on the block with red hair. All of a sudden, red hair isn’t cool, when nobody really cared one way or the other before we moved in.

      1. Hi Bob! Nicely put. We only seem to be the “new kids on the block” to younger folks. We’ve actually been around longer than the conferences themselves. Elderly folks know this. And now, “we’re back”, as the spooky voice would say.
        And we only have “red hair” because all the blond fair haired wonders running all the other universities during the fifties signed their TV rights away to the NCAA! My mother used to ask me (rhetorically) “if all the other kids jump off a bridge, would you jump too?” In ND’s case, we did not jump…we never signed our TV rights away…thus the (IRISH) RED HAIR!

        BGC ’77 ’82

    2. Bob Rodes,

      I’m sure that’s part of it to. And there’s just simply people out that that hate ND and what it stands for. Joining a conference won’t make a bit a difference to any of the haters so I feel no need to satisfy them

    3. Dude that’s so true…don’t understand why people are so against ND!! I dislike people who say one thing and do another when it comes to their teams but always have something to say about ND. Definitely a lot of hypocrites out there.

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