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What does the CFB Playoff expansion mean for Notre Dame Football?

Freedom of sorts

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 Notre Dame Spring Game Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The College Football Playoff is going to expand. After a failed attempt last year because of the conference leadership, a president representative of the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame President Father Jenkins came to the decision to move forward with the expansion and left the media deal to come to the conference commissioners.

This isn’t a drill... this is going to happen.

So what’s the short and skinny for Notre Dame?

  • The Irish can’t be seeded higher than #5 because they can’t be a conference champion.
  • Seeds #5 — #8 will either host the 1st round game at home OR at site of choosing.
  • Notre Dame will not have control of the Jumbotron for any playoff game played inside Notre Dame Stadium or the “site of choosing”.

I understand why Notre Dame fans would be fine with this arrangement. This playoff agreement and the still-to-be-determined media contract with NBC all but guarantee the Irish can remain Independent for as long as the University wishes to be. That’s an excellent result for a school that 99% of the media said was finally going to be forced to join the Big 10 back in July.

I’ve already argued against the #5 seed ceiling. I think it sucks, and some Irish fans think it’s awesome. I feel no need to make you see the error of your thinking again. All I’ll say is that the deal is only as good as what you want the overall endgame to be.

The scariest part of the language is the one where the host playoff school could actually host the game somewhere OTHER than the home stadium. Notre Dame fans already know Jack Swarbrick’s love of neutral site games, so if you automatically think ND will have all of these games inside Notre Dame Stadium, I think you’re fooling yourself. Also... have fun with a Michigan promo or an Ohio State promo on the Jumbotron that Notre Dame doesn’t control for that game.

Look — I don’t think an expanded playoff somehow makes CFB a more even playing field. I think it does help to halt the path of super conference alignment, and that’s great news for Notre Dame’s independence.

The first year of implementation is still to be determined, but keep an eye on hotels for that 1st round 2029 playoff matchup between the 12-0 #5 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS the #12 seed Toledo Rockets inside Ford Field. The Motor City Bowl with a 1UP for the winner (I’m just saying).