Sunday, November 22, 2015

Notre Dame vs. the Poll

Look, I don't know if Notre Dame makes the College Football Playoff or not. What am I, an expert in mathematical theory?

All I know is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Irish (lotta green in those unis, guys ... lotta green) jacked around and won again last night, schlepping past 3-8 Boston College 19-16 in Fenway Park. They've been doing a lot of that lately, the Irish. They win, but they don't wow. Stuff happens, and at the end of 60 minutes of football, they've somehow beaten Wake Forest 28-7. Or Georgia Tech 30-22. Or USC, which had just fired its coach, 41-31.

Wins, sure, and some against decent opposition. Beating a really good Navy team by 17 was impressive. Beating a decent Pitt team by 12 was. Squeaking past a good but not as good as its record Temple team 24-20 ... not so much.

But you know what?

I'm crazy enough to suspect that when it all shakes out, the Irish will be In.

A lot of that is based on what happened in Columbus, Ohio, last night, when an old rival, Michigan State, did Notre Dame an immense favor. The Spartans beat Ohio State 17-14 on the last play of the game, thereby knocking the Buckeyes out of the top four. And the Buckeyes were due. They've been schlepping themselves all season, beating the bargain-basement portion of their schedule but making everyone suspect, at bottom, they really weren't all that good.

And so, last night. And so, Urban Meyer for some unaccountable reason giving the football to Ezekiel Elliott only 12 times. And so, goodbye, Buckeyes.

And so ... if Notre Dame can beat Stanford to finish 11-1, you have to like its chances. Because Oklahoma State got swatted by Baylor last night, so there goes that potential entrant. Because it's gonna be Michigan State and unbeaten Iowa in the Big Ten title game, and there are a lot of people out there who think the Hawkeyes aren't as unbeaten as they look. So if Michigan State beats them, that takes the Big Ten out of the equation.

Which leaves Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

Of course, if Iowa wins ...

Then it's down to the Big Ten vs. Notre Dame. And I can't see the committee taking a one-loss Notre Dame team over an undefeated Big Ten champion.

At which point, I can already hear the people who've been saying for years that Notre Dame should join the Big Ten saying, "Told ya so."

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