Notre Dame’s Road to the Playoffs – Week 11


Another week has gone by, and Notre Dame sits steady at 10 in the College Football Playoff standings.  They’re probably lucky to still be there.  They beat Navy this week, in a game that they had in full control until about 1:30 left in the 2nd Quarter, when Everett Golson threw an interveption as the Irish were trying to increase their 21 point lead before the half. 

At noon on Saturday I decided to get tickets to the game off StubHub (Thank you to whomever put their $125 field level seats up for $45 each). I booked a hotel room and drove light speed down I-95, getting to Landover around 1:30 before kickoff. I remember sitting there after Navy took the lead thinking that the Irish would pull it out, but this was not going to help them at all.  They dropped a spot in each major poll, and would have dropped in the playoff standings, had it not been for Ole Miss suffering their second loss of the season. 

Ironically enough, ND did get jumped by their next opponent, Arizona State.  I’m happy about this.  The Irish need to handle their business regardless, but it allows the Irish to obtain a quality win, something they desperately lack.  I think this Irish team can compete with almost anyone on any given Saturday, as they proved in Tallahassee a few weeks ago.  But their resume says otherwise to the playoff committee.  Here we go…

1. Mississippi State – 8-0 – SEC

Key games: 11/15 – Alabama, 11/29 Ole Miss, SEC Championship

Mississippi State continues to be ND’s best friend.  They will need to take out Alabama, and whoever they play in the SEC championship for the Irish to have any legit chance at this.

2.  Florida State – 8-0  – ACC

Key games: 10/30 – at Louisville, ACC Championship

FSU won a hard fought game against future ND opponent Louisville.  They are likely to win out the rest of their schedule.

3.  Auburn – 6-1 – SEC

Key games: 11/1 Ole Miss , 11/15, @ Georgia, 11/29 @ Alabama, SEC Championship

Auburn did the Irish a favor in taking out Ole Miss, but in the same breath hurt the Irish by winning.  They still have a tough slate to finish the season.

11. Ole Miss – 7-1 – SEC

Key games: 11/1 Auburn, 11/29 Miss St., SEC Championship

The biggest problem I had with the rankings was that there were 3 SEC teams in the top 4.  Not to take anything away from Ole Miss, but I thought the whole point of the playoff was to make it fair for everyone else.   

4. Oregon – 7-1 – Pac 12

Key games: 11/8 @ Utah, 11/29 @ Oregon State., Pac 12 Championship

The Ducks took over the last playoff spot after the Ole Miss loss and an impressive victory over Stanford.  Hopefully Utah can pick them off.  Either way, best case scenario for the Irish, beat ASU, ASU beats the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship.

5. Alabama – 7-1 – SEC

Key games: 11/8 @ LSU, 11/15 Miss St., 11/29 Auburn, SEC Championship

Bama had a bye this week.  Still have to run a gauntlet to get into this thing. The Irish need them to lose to Mississippi State. A win or loss to Auburn does nothing to help ND.  It either strengthens Auburns position or helps Bama.

6. Texas Christian University – 6-1 – Big 12

Key games: 11/1 @ West Virginia, 11/8 Kansas State

WVU almost helped out the Irish in a huge way this weekend, but TCU was able to get by the Mountaineers.  TCU has a huge game againt Kansas State this week.  To help the Irish the most, TCU needs to lose to K-State and then K-state needs to lose to one of their other ranked opponents down the line.  TCU’s schedule is fairly easy from here on out.

7. Kansas State – 6-1 – Big 12

Key games: 11/1 Oklahoma State, 11/8 @ TCU, 11/20 @ West Virginia, 11/6 @ Baylor

K-State made a 2 spot jump this week after crushing Oklahoma State.  As noted in the TCU blurb, the Irish will be helped the most by a K-State win over TCU, and a loss down the road.

8. Michigan State – 7-1 – Big Ten

Key games: 11/8 Ohio State, Big Ten Championship

Michigan State had a bye this week.  They have their hardest remaining game this week against Ohio State.  We have to be Ohio State fans this week, although I know it will hurt people to do so.

9. Arizona State – 7-1 – Pac 12

Key Games: 11/8 NOTRE DAME, 11/28 @ #19 Arizona

Not much needs to be said.  This is Notre Dame’s playoffs right here…

So that is that.  This week we root hard for the Buckeyes, K-State, LSU and Utah. Hopefully Notre Dame gives me a reason to continue updating this post next week. Go Irish!

Agree? Disagree? Reach me on twitter @GetsThruBuckner

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