Notre Dame Officially In the 2018 College Football Playoffs!!!

After all of the speculation over the last few hours, Notre Dame is officially in the 2018 College Football Playoffs for the first time in program history!  The undefeated Fighting Irish navigated the regular season 12-0 and just moments ago we found out that the Selection Committee ranked the Irish 3rd in their final rankings.  Notre Dame will no face the Clemson Tigers in the semi-final.

The final top 4 rankings released just now look like this:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Oklahoma

There has been a lot of conjecture over what the final rankings should have been thanks for Georgia’s narrow loss last night to Alabama in the SEC Championship.  Some experts, such as Kirk Herbstreit suggested that Georgia should not only have made the playoffs but should have been ranked ahead of Notre Dame in the final rankings despite the Bulldogs losing their two toughest games of the season.

In the end, the committee decided that wins and loss and not just the “eye test” mattered at the end of the day.

Notre Dame opened at 4th in the first College Football Playoff rankings, but quickly moved to 3rd the following week and have been in 3rd place since then and finished in 3rd place heading into the official pairings.

By finishing in 3rd place, Notre Dame will face undefeated Clemson in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas with top ranked Alabama squaring off against Big 12 Champion Oklahoma in Miami.  The Irish and Tigers last faced off in 2015 when Notre Dame lost a thriller in Death Valley after Deshone Kizer was stuffed by Clemson on a two point conversion attempt that would have tied the game in the final minute.

Clemson finished the season 13-0 after their 42-10 win over Pitt last night the ACC Championship game.

This is the first trip to the College Football playoffs for Notre Dame after the Irish had been in the discussion at different points of three of the four previous Novembers in some capacity. In other seasons though, Notre Dame had at least one blemish on their resumes.  This time the Irish eliminated all doubt from the equation by winning all 12 of the their games – all of which came against FBS foes – including 10 versus Power 5 opponents and 3 against top 25 opponents from last week’s CFP Top 25.

Even after the rankings were released, Herbstreit continued to beat the drum for Georgia with two losses because his eyeballs tell him that they are one of the four best teams in the country.  Not many on the ESPN panel wanted to give the Irish much credit and instead talked about the Irish being unable to beat Georgia, Ohio State, or Oklahoma and making a ridiculous comparison to Notre Dame being like a team from the 80’s or 90’s and being unable to handle any of the other CFP rankings.

David Pollack was the lone ESPN panelist who gave the Irish credit by saying that Notre Dame doesn’t have a glaring weakness unlike Oklahoma or Ohio State.  Pollack gave the Irish credit for being solid in every department.

Regardless of what any of the World Wide Leader’s talking heads are spouting now though, it doesn’t matter.  Notre Dame is in the 2018 College Football Playoffs and the selection committee made a statement that wins and losses matter and not the “eye test” of the college football media who spend all season creating narratives that they then want to justify at the end of the day.

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  1. The timing of the flexbone blocking used by the service academies requires a billion repetitions to get it right. We don’t have time, and zero experience to start with (at least that I know of). Also, I’m not sold on Brandon as a great “mesh point” decision maker, which is a definite requirement for that “O” to go! But we could run what the media calls the “wildcat” a little bit and probably give a few new wrinkles for the Clemson game (with Wimbush, Jafar, and Williams). I think that if we showed that against Clemson it would actually be giving BAMA something to think about, more than Clemson. And it’s always a good thing to make a team with only one week to prepare for you have to worry about something else on top of all the regular stuff. I also think that the “odd man out” for the Heisman show in New York can lead us to victory with his 70% completion rate straight up…without “trick” plays or “trick” formations…so it really doesn’t matter either way.

    BGC ’77 ’82

  2. Once again, ESPN’s pet football team, Alabama, gets exposed when they have to play a half-decent team. They were barely able to beat one-loss Georgia in the last couple of minutes, but once again, Herbstreit has not only anointed them the equivalent of the ’85 Bears, but now feels their other overrated SEC team, Georgia, is somehow the ’85 Patriots. In line with all their other moronic moves in the past few years which has cost them billions of dollars as true sports fans leave them for more knowledgeable venues, ESPN has tied its wagon to the SEC and their cheerleaders scream for them in their half-empty living rooms in efforts to get the SEC anointed the best. ESPN did the same to the B10 in basketball when they signed the Fox contract and have continually put down the league to build up their own pets. They’re losing billions each year as fans leave in droves and yet their “experts” such as Herbstreit and Desmond Howard (remember his predictions last week?) keep on spouting their moronic crap. I’m betting the championship game will be between the Irish and Oklahoma. Hope so so I can watch Herbstreit turn red and sputter how the SEC got robbed…

  3. Herbstreit can stick a gas soaked rag up his ass and I’ll personally light it which he will blow up like a balloon because of all the hot air he espouses. The naysayers are out saying ND doesn’t belong. Screw them because ND let the results on the field speak for them and they worthy to be at the number 3 seed and in the CFP. It’s why they play the games ESPN on the field and not in your own little pathetic anti-ND minds. Opportunity is knocking and I hope the Irish make noise, starting against Clemson and beating them. This isn’t 2012. GO IRISH!

  4. Here’s a novel idea. How about using wimbush and other reserves to develop a completely different offense. I’m thinking triple option. I think this would be a novel approach and give Clemson something to think about. If Army, Navy can do it with 2 and 3 star athletes, why can’t we do the same with 3 and 4 star athletes. That’s what I would do. 3 to 4 Weeks to put a decent triple option together. Give Venebles something to think about. .

    1. So your plan is to scrap the entire offense that helped them go 12-0 on the off chance it might trick Clemson? Sounds great to me.

      1. Actually Ron, since you’ve never offered an idea you can shut your Buckeye need trap and go back to your broney activities.

        The general point is a good one. No don’t scrap the offense but the Irish will need wrinkles. And setting Wimbush up to successfully do something with a change
        Of pace is needed more for Alabama then for Clemson.

      2. C-Dog,

        I agree that ND will need wrinkles. But it looked like David R was actually suggesting they scrap and start over with basically a new offense. That I think would be a mistake. As Fitz noted below that would be something you’d do if you were 0-4 and your offense was sputtering and you needed an overhaul to get things going. Not something I’d do in this situation.

        But I agree with your idea. It’ll help ND to have some trick plays up their sleeve to confuse Clemson. They just have to execute those plays.

      3. Damian,
        No worries. I’m sure he didn’t mean scrap the offense.
        Brian Kelly has a history of coming into a game with a singular game plan and being reluctant to adjust. To get both wins he and his assistants are truly going to need to practice the equivalent of 3 game plans. It’s not that they scrap one for another. It’s that they will need to adjust series by series.

      4. C-Dog,

        True. One of my criticisms of BK I’ve had is his stubbornness. That’s one thing I’ve seen out of Lea and even Long since they took over the defense and offense…a willingness to adapt at least at halftime. Something that was rarely done in years past. I just wish maybe they’d adapt a little earlier in the game when something isn’t working, but it’s a step in the right direction.

        I’m not too sure about David R’s idea even as a gimmick. That’s almost a totally different offense then the one we’ve used all year. It’s something that takes a long time to get good at I would think, and it would take valuable practice time they need for their regular offense.

        I can’t help but think of Weis’ spread offense experiment back in 2007 before he quickly went back to pro-style halfway through the first game. It was a complete disaster and the offense had to basically reset itself after the season had started and it cost ND valuable practice time as a result—and the result was a 3 win season. I know the parallels aren’t completely the same here but it’d be a huge gamble. Trick plays, that’s one thing, but trying to practice 2 different offenses that will both have to use many of the same pieces is not something that Alabama and Clemson would do.

    2. No. Read closer. You develop this offense from the spares. Two different offenses, two different styles for Clemson to prepare for. Photos of Brandon wimbush running the triple option. It’s perception. Let Venebles figure out if it is reality. Not scraping anything. Never suggested as much.

      1. So I read it closer and it still makes no sense. You are aware that they played Ga Tech this year and completely shut down the the triple option.

  5. Well, I got my wish, that is I did not want to face Alabama in the first round. That’s not to say Clemson won’t be incredibly tough. But I figure we have a better shot at taking down Clemson then we would a Bama team with weeks to prepare.

    I wonder if Herbstreit can make up his mind. After the USC game he ‘guaranteed’ ND would be in and was making the argument that undefeated with their schedule they basically belonged there. Fast forward to this week and all of a sudden the Irish belong behind a 2 loss team. Had the committee followed his advice then their credibility would have been shot. I could maybe see a 1 loss team ranked ahead of an undefeated IF that 1 loss team was otherwise dominant and had a close loss and the undefeated team had lackluster wins against inferior opponents and a poor schedule (sorry UCF but your weak schedule is not going to cut it). But ranking a 2 loss team over an undefeated team like the Irish, no way.

    And I’m not really interested in hearing Georgia cry foul. When you lose two games then you no longer control your destiny. If ND had lost one game they would have been out, and as heartbreaking as that would be I know we have to pretty much go 12-0 most years to get in.

  6. This is not the Notre Dame offense of Sept. 1st that beat Harbaugh.

    It’s different now.

    Dexter is not in detention, he is both the starter and the lead dog.
    Jafar Armstrong is not getting his sea legs after conversion from WR.

    Wimbush, a wonderful young man, has now become the backup while Book starts. Book is accurate but his greatest deployable asset on 12/29, still 27 days away is his remarkably quick release.

    Boykin and Claypool are no long question marks in substitution for Equanimeous St. Brown and Kevin Stepherson, they are Exclamation points.

    Bars, alas, is gone, but Banks, he of length, mass and bulk is now settled at LG. while it cuts both ways, Ruhland, he is not.
    But his bulk will be helpful against Wilkins and Lawrence.

    And then there is this Chip Long dude. He now has nearly a full month to fashion a game plan for Clemson and the highly baitable Brent Venables. Long did an unusual thing. He retooled his offense on the run, while migrating from Michigan to Stanford to VA TECH to the November frequent flyer miles tour. Chip also has a fetish for tight ends. When it comes to big DLS, and if you don’t believe me, ask Winovich and Gary, well, this Chip guy knows how to “Chip” DLS with his TES.
    Clemson is a physical challenge. Gee, if Brian Kelly were actually thinking, instead of being an emotional wreck like the erstwhile geniuses at ND Knowitall Nation, he migtht have sent a message by, oh, say, giving a game ball to Matt Balis after USC. Oh, snap, wait……………

    Now, po’ ol;’ ND is not a match for those great offenses Clemson has played recently, like, ahem, Louisville, ground and pound, Boston College, FSU, Duke, South Carolina and Pitt. (Keep repeating that, lull the tigers to sleep!)

    There is every reason to believe that 12/29 will have as much ordnance and schematic awareness as any Notre Dame offense in Long’s tenure as OC. Clemson is physically intimidating. Good. So was Michigan. Matt Balis, caressing his game ball will not be spending
    December drinking egg nog. and he and his players know they need each other.

    We also play a little defense. Clark Lea? He knows a bit about Clemson. and the very BEST thing that happened to Notre Dame in November was the first quarter against SC, when Helton and J.t. Daniels had their one moment of zen.

    And THIS time
    it ain’t in Death Valley
    It will not be a monsoon
    and it is, albeit, talented, a freshman, not the esteemed Deshaun Watson

    Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, eh? Well, now, the Irish have BURNT Orange teams there before………….

    Go Irish!

  7. A lot of folks are missing the real point, which is this: Rather than arguing every year about which undefeated or one loss teams should be left out, we should be arguing about which two loss team(s) should get in…which is exactly what would happen with an eight team playoff…this year after BAMA, Clemson, ND, UCF, Oklahoma and Ohio State all get slots…we leave two slots open…presumably the Big 8 Champ and Georgia could fill those this year. Like everything else, let’s either do it right, or not do it at all.
    BGC ’77 ’82

  8. I hope ND wins out as much as anyone else does but if they don’t, I won’t be upset because they did something that very few college teams do and that’s go 12-0 for the season. Alabama, Clemson and the few others may be ELITE teams but Notre Dame is an elite team!

  9. These four teams in the CFP deserve to be there. I’m glad ND won’t play in Florida- a recurring site for bad memories. NDs lines must excel and compete in order to advance. Here’s hoping BK and staff show some unpredictable wrinkles and that Coach Lea pressures the Frosh QB with as many rushers as it takes. The extra prep time will allow for new adjustments in scheme and formations, and the mantra “just execute’ needs a back-up plan if just execute doesn’t produce RB lanes, time for Book, or pressure on Clemson’s Frosh QB.
    Regardless, it’s been a glorious season, and “Don’t stop now, boys!”
    I don’t recall a recent season when I looked forward to 4th quarter dominance rather than hoping the Irish just hang on. Conditioning, team speed, confidence, and coaches’ willingness to adjust the game plan on offense and defense mark this team as a special edition to ND excellence.

  10. We played GEORGIA last year and lost by 1pt!! We played LSU in January and beat them!! But according to every ESPN analyst we don’t belong in the top 6!! IT’S SAD when RESPECT can’t be given even after you EARN IT on the field!! ND haters are still alive and well at espn, guess herby will have to give Kirby a big hug tonight!!! GO IRISH!!! We always play well at the ‘ COTTON BOWL ‘ !!!

    1. If the “Analyst’s” pay was determined by how often their predictions turned out to be correct, their analysis and their predictions would probably be the same for Alabama, but might be quite different than they are for any number of other programs. The “wallet test” would be trumping the “eye test” on some of this stuff. But again, in this culture we seem to be “results oriented” for everyone else, but not so much for our own selves.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  11. Congratulations on a great year.
    12-0, against a slate of nothing but worthy and legitimate opponents, is unique in college football.

    I hope the team represents well, play their very best, and avoid injury.
    Go Irish.

  12. Is this the same Captain Kirk I heard had to move to Tennessee cause His fellow OSU Boosters were giving him a hard time.
    This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.

      1. Wish Davey would get back to his ol’ self, on strike or something. Best motivator on this site.

      2. Maybe he finally actually watched a few games at the end of the season during his radio silence period.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      3. I wonder is it is someone different. I can’t believe he would have such a complete about face.

      4. Damian,

        I’m pretty sure this isn’t the same David. I made that mistake myself.

        The “old” David must be trolling some other team now, but will reappear the minute ND loses to slam BK, the ND administration, etc. Just wait and see!

      5. Ha-ha SFR.

        The first time I read it I was parsing through it to see some slam on ND that maybe I missed on first glance. When I didn’t find one I figured it has to be someone different.

        That’s all I’ll say about the infamous David. I swore a year or so ago I wasn’t going to respond to his trolling anymore and I’ve managed to behave myself.

  13. I’m thrilled we are playing Clemson. As a South Carolina resident I’ve watched most of their games and I think ND can beat them. The ACC is weak other than Clemson and we get them away from Death
    Valley where they are nearly invincible. I like our chances to advance.

  14. Notre Dame is the ONLY school who played five ranked teams and beat all five!!!!
    Georgia has two losses and did not play even three ranked teams!
    So please-☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️☘️

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