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Notre Dame College Football Playoff Cheering Guide - Championship Week

The games that matter most to Notre Dame fans that want to see the Irish in the College Football Playoff

Notre Dame (11-1) ranked No. 6 in the final College Football Playoff rankings prior to championship week. With its regular season complete the Irish can only get back into the playoff with some help.

There are a number of scenarios that can happen for Notre Dame to move up into the top four. Notre Dame needs teams ahead of it to lose, and there are other games that could allow Irish opponents to jump into the Top 25, which would also help Notre Dame's resume.

Notre Dame needs Georgia to beat Alabama and at least one of Baylor or Iowa to win their title game matchups. 


#9 Baylor Bears vs. #5 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Game Time: 12:00 PM ET
Network: ABC
Spread: Oklahoma State -5.5

Oklahoma State leaped ahead of Notre Dame after it beat Oklahoma last weekend. If the Cowboys win this game the Irish have no chance to jump ahead of them, so clearly the Irish need Baylor to win this game. If Oklahoma State wins the Irish need two of the three remaining "big games" to go perfectly, which means very low odds. Notre Dame would also need some of the other "remaining games" to go their way, which could allow Wisconsin and/or Purdue to jump into the Top 25.

Notre Dame fans need to pull for the Bears to get the job done.

#1 Georgia Bulldogs vs. #3 Alabama Crimson Tide

Game Time: 4:00 PM ET
Network: CBS
Spread: Georgia -6.5

Notre Dame needs Georgia to win this matchup, there is no doubt about that. If Alabama wins it means two SEC teams make the playoff, which would again put the Irish in position where it needs a lot to go right. If Oklahoma State and Alabama win the Irish will have a very, very tough time climbing high enough to make it in. 

If Georgia handles business it would likely eliminate the Crimson Tide, or at the very least drop them behind Notre Dame, which greatly increases Notre Dame's chances to get in.

#21 Houston Cougars at #4 Cincinnati Bearcats

Game Time: 4:00 PM ET
Network: ABC
Spread: Cincinnati -10.5

I'm not sold that Cincinnati falls behind Notre Dame with a loss. The Bearcats don't have an impressive resume outside of its win over the Irish, but that's just it, Cincinnati beat Notre Dame by 11 (24-13) in South Bend. Head to head is important, obviously, but it's not the only criteria. Cincinnati, at 12-1, would also have a better overall record than Notre Dame at 11-1. Cincinnati would also have a win over the No. 6 team while Notre Dame has zero wins over current Top 25 wins.

So I'm of the belief that if Houston is going to win it needs to win big. That's the best odds for Notre Dame to pass the Bearcats. At this point I think the Irish faithful need to focus more on the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten title games.

#2 Michigan Wolverines vs. #13 Iowa Hawkeyes

Game Time: 8:00 PM ET
Network: FOX
Spread: Michigan -11.0

Michigan and Alabama are both two-loss teams that could make the playoff, but I doubt either stay ahead of Notre Dame. A Michigan loss would be one of the two games Notre Dame needs to jump into the top four. 

By the time this game kicks off the Irish will either know it is already likely in or it will need the Hawkeyes to win. Of course, if Alabama, Cincinnati and Oklahoma State all win it won't matter much and Notre Dame likely won't be in.


Notre Dame's resume is enhanced if Purdue or Wisconsin could jump back into the Top 25. That happens if the two games below go the right way.

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Utah State Aggies vs. #19 San Diego State Aztecs

Game Time: 3:00 PM ET
Network: FOX
Spread: SDSU -6.0

A Utah State win could drop the Aztecs out of the Top 25 and could open up room for Wisconsin or Purdue to jump back in.

Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. #24 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns

Game Time: 3:30 PM ET
Network: ESPN
Spread: App State -3.0

This is the last game for Billy Napier at Louisiana, and Irish fans need him to go out with a whimper. An Appalachian State win knocks Louisiana out of the Top 25 and creates a chance for Wisconsin or Purdue to get back in.

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