The first set of College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday night, and while there were definitely some headscratchers inside the Top 25, nothing was too earth-shattering. As far as Notre Dame’s exclusion is concerned — we knew it was kind of a longshot to be ranked inside the top 25 with a 5-3 record.
Before I get to why Irish fans could/should be punching the walls, here are some nice things I can say about the rankings:
- The Tennessee Volunteers absolutely deserve the #1 spot. Well done.
- The #4 Clemson Tigers ranked ahead of the #5 Michigan Wolverines is fantastic, and really just drives home the fact that the Skunkbears played a terrible schedule to date.
- The Tulane Green Wave at #19 is fun, but not quite as fun as the Illinois Fighting Illini at #16.
- Really — just the general randomness of the whole thing with the last quarter of the season ready to roll.
But what about the Irish? Obviously the 5-3 record is bad. The loss to #2 Ohio State is probably fine in the eyes of the committee, but Marshall and Stanford are body blows that put Notre Dame on the mat — and that’s what’s so damn infuriating. We have become accustomed to the Irish winning the games they are supposed to win over the last five seasons — and regardless of how they would have pulled those games out, they would have likely been in the top 10 (ahead of Brian Kelly’s 2 loss LSU Tigers).
Even if the Irish would have a 6-2 record by flipping the Stanford result, they are still looking at a top 15 type of ranking on Tuesday night. Marcus Freeman has said before that this Irish team is a very good team that doesn’t play that way all of the time, and that’s why we’re here.
Maybe it makes you laugh or maybe it makes you rage, but seeing the Syracuse Orange at #20 and the North Carolina Tar Heels at #17 just has me shaking my head. Two top 20 teams that Notre Dame thoroughly dominated on the road are living high on the hog, while we squalor in the shit. It’s truly frustrating — just as this season has been frustrating.
Of course, Notre Dame is just days away from hosting #4 Clemson, which could change the anger — or make it worse depending upon how you’re leaning.
You see, it’s not the ranking that makes me angry — it’s the lost potential for the season. I’m sure there are many of you out there that only view Notre Dame football through the lens of the national championship, but that’s a terrible way to go about your fanhood unless you’re an Alabama Crimson Tide fan (they are the lone exception). Everything is relative, and close wins to lower tiered schools don’t mean tragedy to recruits like they do to overzealous fans and alumni. A good down year should still be a top 15 type of season — which they are when yoiu win the games you’re supposed to win.
So I’m mad about the lost potential of the season — not that Notre Dame isn’t #24 or whatever. The good news, is that the Irish can still get a lot of that potential back — just not all of it.
It starts with Clemson on Saturday night... let’s do it again.