Expanded Playoff Format Presents One Major Problem For Notre Dame

The College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams presents one major red flag for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The College Football Playoff board of managers voted Friday to expand the CFP to 12 teams as soon as 2024 or as late as 2026. The field will consist of the six highest-ranked conference champs and then the six next highest-ranked teams.

The top four ranked conference champs will receive first round byes, and that's where Notre Dame is going to run into a major problem.

Seeing as how ND refuses to join a conference, the Fighting Irish will never be eligible for a first round bye under the new format.

That means the Fighting Irish will have to win four straight playoff games in order to win a national title. Meanwhile, a top four conference champ can win a national title in just three games.

However, Notre Dame clearly isn't too concerned because AD Jack Swarbrick is on the board of managers and voted for the 12-team field.

Perhaps, Notre Dame feels it's a lock almost every year in a 12-team field, and can accept never getting a first round bye.

Having said that, winning four straight games seems like an incredibly difficult task compared to being rested and only needing to win three.

Now, something to watch is what Notre Dame does if it struggles in a 12-team format. Could that speed up the Fighting Irish joining the Big Ten? It's certainly possible and absolutely something worth keeping an eye on.