Notre Dame Should Miss CFB Playoff for Texas A&M or Cincinnati

Notre Dame came into today’s ACC championship game against Clemson undefeated, but they got absolutely waxed. After losing 34-10, Notre Dame does not belong in the College Football Playoff. Their win over Clemson earlier this season has been invalidated. Clemson was without Trevor Lawrence in that game, and now we have a better glimpse at what the game would’ve looked like had Lawrence played.

Tonight’s game was an even bigger blowout than the final score. At one point, Clemson was up 34-3. Notre Dame scored a touchdown in garbage time when the outcome had long since been decided. Many people have made the joke that Brian Kelly was indeed serious about boycotting the playoffs if no fans could be at the Rose Bowl.

The trickier question is who DOES deserve to make the playoff. Alabama is a lock, whether or not they beat Florida tonight. Clemson is obviously in as well. You can argue about Ohio State’s merits being undefeated in just six games until you’re blue in the face. The selection committee is putting them in.

So who gets the final spot? I reckon it comes down to Texas A&M and Cincinnati. Texas A&M is 8-1 — they’ve beaten Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi State, Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee. Their lone loss was to Alabama, by 28 points, and if they made the playoffs that’s who they’d be playing again.

Cincinnati, in my opinion, should have a credible opportunity to sneak into the playoffs if they thrash Tulsa tonight. Cincinnati is undefeated, beat Austin Peay, Army, South Florida, SMU, Memphis, Houston, East Carolina, and UCF. While the selection committee always leans towards established Power-Five programs in their rankings, if there’s ever a time for another team to make it this would be it.

In the selection committee’s rankings this past week, Texas A&M was ranked fifth and Cincinnati ninth.

If I had to guess what the selection committee WILL do, I think they’ll pick Notre Dame and justify it with their wins over Clemson (Lawrence being out notwithstanding) and North Carolina. Notre Dame vs. Alabama would likely get better TV ratings than Texas A&M or Cincinnati vs. Alabama. But, I don’t think they deserve to be in after their performance against Clemson.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. Cincinnati or Coastal Carolina should be #4, seeing as they are both undefeated and played full seasons. While I get the argument that A&M would likely beat both of those team the fact still remains that A&M lost to Alabama and thus failed to go undefeated, something that Cincy and Coastal both did accomplish. Coastal even scheduled BYU on the fly at the last minute, then proceeded to win the game, so they have proven at least on some level that they can compete with larger schools. If there were ever a year to give a Group of 5 school a shot, why not this year?

    • Not all undefeated records are created equal. If bama had lost to Florida they wouldn’t get jumped by Cincy. The point of the playoff isn’t to be fair to the little guys. Granted the power 5 lock out the good G5 teams because they have no interest in scheduling such talented noncon opponents so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that G5s have no shot. But that’s not the playoffs fault, it’s the fault of the cowardly P5 ADs.

  2. It doesn’t matter who #4 is…it’s going to come down to Alabama and Clemson.

    I just want one of those teams to destroy Ohio State. Those bending of the covid rules just proved how stupid the covid rules were to begin with.

  3. Alabama and Clemson are easily #1 & #2. Nobody else is that close to them. But there are a number of teams that are close to one another. A&M should be #3, OSU #4. Notre Dame played it’s way out of the playoff, but might still get in on name alone.

  4. Cincinnati hasn’t played anyone so no way do they get in or deserve to get in. A&M already got smashed by Alabama by 28 points so how is that better than ND’s crapping the bed yesterday. Plus you can’t use the excuse that A&M’s loss was earlier in the season and they are better now because so is Bama. A&M already had their shot at Bama. Now, for better or worse (almost certainly worse), it’s ND’s turn

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