Yes, they are undefeated. But how can anybody who watches the sport of college football support Notre Dame being in the College Football Playoffs over Oklahoma, who had to face an extremely tough Texas team for the Big 12 Championship, or Georgia, who twice held a two touchdown lead over an Alabama team that is considered one of their best under Nick Saban.
Both of those teams are forced to put their season on the line in conference championship games against accomplished teams. Texas beat Oklahoma 48-45 giving the Sooners their only loss of the year on October 6th during the Red River Showdown.
Then they had to suit up for a conference championship against their biggest rivals with CFP implications on the line as the fifth ranked team in the country. Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma answered the call by beating the 14th ranked Longhorns 39-27 and playing probably the most complete game we have seen out of the Sooners all year.
They are quarterbacked by Kyler Murray, a potential favorite to win the Heisman Trophy and the only player in college football history to average at least 300 passing yards and 60 rushing yards in a game throughout an entire regular season. You’re going to leave them out?
The fourth ranked Bulldogs had to face the reigning national champions in a game that would ultimately decide their fate in the eyes of the committee. Despite being recognized as the fourth best team in the nation beforehand, a loss likely pushed Georgia out of the playoff conversation.
But why? If the committee saw Georgia as the fourth best team before playing Alabama, how does that perspective really change based on the type of loss they took today? How does losing a nail-biter to the number one team in the country make Georgia anything worse than the fourth best team in the country?
If the playoff is truly about the four BEST TEAMS in the country, you can’t keep out Kirby Smart and his team. The Dawgs gave this “unbeatable” Alabama team, which was compared to the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, as big a scare as anybody in this country could give them.
They held Heisman front-runner, Tua Tagovailoa, to just 10/25 passing for 125 yards and two interceptions. They held the Tide to just 157 rushing yards, 49-yards under their season average. They scored more points on Alabama than any other team but Arkansas this season. And, again, the Bulldogs held two different 14-point leads over the undefeated and reigning national champions. You’re going to leave them out?
But Notre Dame gets to kick back and just watch these teams beat on one another because they are Notre Dame? A massive TV contract allows them to get away with not having to play a conference championship and solidify their spot in the playoff without any threat of being knocked off. It is absolutely ridiculous.
I am not saying they don't belong because they don't deserve it. They are undefeated and are worthy of their ranking, but join a conference and prove it the same way that Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson have to prove it. They are apart of the ACC in basketball, baseball, and every other sport. But not football? Imagine Clemson and Notre Dame going toe-to-toe in Charlotte last night for a spot in the CFP the same way Alabama and Georgia did.
I have to believe that Notre Dame doesn’t want that. Notre Dame doesn't want to be forced to play Miami every year and have to potentially face Dabo Swinney’s group to earn their spot in the playoff. They are given advantages that no other team in the country receives based on the fact that they are Notre Dame.
If this playoff system is going to work, if this is the system that the NCAA has chosen moving forward, then it is only right that every single team contending abides by the same rules. For the Irish, that means joining a conference and earning it the way that everybody else does.