Despite yesterday’s blowout loss at the hands of Clemson, Notre Dame is in the College Football Playoffs for the second time in three years. The Irish feel from the 2nd seed to the 4th seed and will take on top ranked Alabama in a rematch of the 2012 BCS National Championship.
The one thing that could have kept the Irish out o the playoffs was a blowout yesterday. That happened with a 34-3 loss in the ACC Championship Game, but it was not enough for the selection committee to overlook the rest of the strength of Notre Dame’s resume including a win over Clemson earlier this year.
Notre Dame got in over Texas A&M and Cincinnati who both had resumes worthy of consideration as well. Ohio State, despite playing so many fewer games than the rest of the teams in consideration, makes the playoffs after just six games including a lack luster effort yesterday against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. Notre Dame played five more games than the Buckeyes, and A&M played three more games than them.
Notre Dame’s overall resume which included 10 wins in 11 tries including wins over Clemson and North Carolina. Notre Dame’s “strength of record” was ranked 2nd in the country. Texas A&M’s lone loss was just as unimpressive as Notre Dame’s as well – the Aggies lost by four touchdowns to Alabama earlier this year. They did have an impressive win over Florida, but Notre Dame’s two quality wins gave them the edge in the end.
The first round of the Playoffs is January 1. As the 4th seed, Notre Dame will face Alabama in Jerry Wolrd in AT&T Stadium. This game was supposed to be played in the Rose Bowl, but the game was moved to Dallas last night because of the COVID-19 situation in California.
Notre Dame has a lot to prove after looking like the “same old Notre Dame” yesterday in their least impressive performance since last year’s no-show in Ann Arbor. Look for the Irish to open as heavy, heavy underdogs – a 20+ point spread is not out of the question.
While yesterday’s effort has Notre Dame, its alum, and its fanbase disappointed, the Irish have made it to the Playoffs for the second time in three years. That in and of itself is an accomplishment. Still, the Irish have to look better against the Tide than they did yesterday afternoon in Charlotte if for nothing else but the sanity of Notre Dame fans.