The conference championships are in the books, after a day of some of the hottest takes in the business — I’m fairly certain that nothing has really changed. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish went into the day sitting firmly at #3 in the college football playoff rankings, and when the final rankings are released, I believe that’s exactly where they will be ranked.
College Football Playoff Rankings Prediction
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Clemson Tigers
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Georgia Bulldogs
This won’t be as difficult as some people are trying to make it. Obviously Alabama and Clemson hold firm to the top two spots, and I think 12-0 Notre Dame stays put as well. The playoff committee has never come close to uttering the trash about Notre Dame that a large portion of the media has been spitting out. I don’t believe they’re going to do some 180 degree spin and drop them a spot — or even two spots.
After that, Oklahoma will move up into the fourth slot with the Georgia loss. The fifth and sixth spots are meaningless in the grand scheme, but just to drive the point about a 2 loss team being left out of the playoffs... I have the Buckeyes at number five.
Yeah, there was a healthy dose of Notre Dame hate being tossed out Saturday night. It was merely an extension of a narrative that has been pushed by certain members of the media since about week six.
I’m not going to throw all that down again, as we published a couple different articles that addressed all of that noise.
In short, Notre Dame’s 12-0 record holds up against any other schools schedule and record. While the SEC started campaigning during their championship game, Notre Dame’s Director of Football Media Realations (SID) dropped a campaign tweet of their own:
Among Bama, CU, ND, Ga, OU and OSU, the Irish are no worse than 3rd in FBS wins (12), Power-5 wins (10), AP top-25 wins (4), current CFP top-25 wins (3), road/neutral wins (6) and Power-5 winning record wins (5).— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) December 2, 2018
And, the Irish needed just 12 games to do it.#BertschyBits
Among the group, Notre Dame is currently...— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) December 2, 2018
Road/Neutral Wins - t-1st
FBS Wins - t-1st
Power-5 Wins - t-1st
AP Top-25 Wins - t-1st
CFP Top-25 Wins - t-2nd
Power-5 Winning Record - 3rd https://t.co/EeOUcmAmXb
So... that looks pretty good.
Not only did the SEC start their campaigning, but Georgia head coach Kirby Smart did as well. Smart took their loss to Alabama which saw them blow a 14 point lead (and miss a FG that could have made it 17) in stride. He took up Georgia’s cause as a top four team while pretty much dismissing the stupid decision to run a fake punt at midfield on 4th and 11 with only a few minutes left in the game.
Top 4 teams don’t make dumb ass calls like that to lose a game, and they don’t lose by 20 points in another game.
A Select Few
For all the media bashing I’ve done here because of the Notre Dame bashing, it isn’t the entire media. Some like Dennis Dodd (not exactly a friend of the program) aren’t buying what a few blowhards are trying to sell you. In short, Georgia has 2 losses, and Oklahoma isn’t going to vault from 5 to 3.
Other analysts such as Dan Wolken, Jonathan Vilma, Matt Leinhart, and Heather Dinich have the same top 4 as I listed above. Your biggest Notre Dame hater is of course Kirk Herbstreit. Herbie was fairly animated in his banner waving for Georgia at number 3.
For my entire life, I have operated under the assumption that the college football regular season was the greatest thing in sports. Every game matters, and some years come crashing down because of one minor slip-up. Views like Herbie’s dilute the season, and they reduce the possible achievements of champions down to recruiting rankings, eye tests, personal beliefs, and limited data.
Games are won and lost on the field. Georgia forfeited their claim in the top four by losing twice. There’s always next year. Have a problem with it? Go talk to the March Madness teams over the past 30 years. Not every “eye test” team won a title — because they lost it on the court. The same should certainly be said in a sport that allows 60 less teams in that tournament.