Where will Notre Dame be ranked when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released?
The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish are likely preparing for their primetime matchup with the Naval Academy on Saturday as we speak. However, in the deep recesses of the players’ and coaches’ brains, it’s hard not to imagine them thinking ahead just a little to the College Football Playoff Rankings.
On Tuesday, October 30th, the first iteration of the rankings will be announced on ESPN. While there is some mystery behind who the four teams will be, one thing is fairly certain. The four teams announced next Tuesday are unlikely to be the same four teams playing for the championship in January.
However, since I enjoy pondering questions that don’t matter and engage in fruitless debates, I thought, why not ask if the Golden Domers will be ranked, and if so, where. Well, I think the answer to the first question is clear. It would come as a huge surprise and snub if they do not appear in the first top-four.
So the only true question remaining is where will they fall? Earlier I said one thing is fairly certain. I should have said two things are fairly certain — with the second being that the Alabam Crimson Tide will be the No. 1 team.
I’m also fairly confident LSU will be the No. 2 ranked team. Although they have one loss, it was to the then-No. 22 ranked Florida Gators on the road. Why a one-loss team leapfrogs an undefeated Clemson University and ND is pretty clear. Of LSU’s seven wins, four of them have come against ranked teams, while three were against top-ten ranked teams.
When you get to it then, the Irish will either be slotted No. 3 or 4. The smart money is on Clemson coming in just ahead of Notre Dame, though there is a good argument that the Irish should take the No. 3 spot.
Granted Clemson pummeled No. 16 ranked N.C. State, but they barely squeaked by unranked Texas A&M for their second best win this season. Outside of those two, the next best team they’ve played this season was the University of East Roast Beef. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.
The Irish, on the other hand, took down the surging Michigan Wolverines (ranked No.14 at the time), then No. 7 ranked Stanford, and most recently, No. 24 ranked Virginia Tech. The Irish are expected to handle Navy this Saturday, and assuming they do, they’ll move to 8-0. When you stack their resume up against Clemson, it’s clear Notre Dame’s is superior.
Perhaps Clemson will get the benefit of the doubt having reached the playoff in each of the last three seasons. However, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. So if the Irish end up No. 4 just behind Clemson, they’ll have a legitimate gripe. They’ll also have a ton of time to prove the voters wrong.