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Notre Dame Playoff Chances Take A Huge Hit On Championship Saturday

The results in the conference championships will likely keep Notre Dame from making it to the College Football Playoff this season

In a season full of chaos it appeared that Notre Dame (11-1) entered Championship Week with pretty good odds to earn a trip to the College Football Playoff. All Notre Dame needed was No. 1 Georgia to handle its business and it needed just one upset of a team ranked ahead of the Irish.

Notre Dame got the upset it needed right away, as No. 9 Baylor (11-2) upset No. 5 Oklahoma State (11-2) in the Big 12 Championship game, which kicked off at noon. The Cowboys were ranked one spot ahead of Notre Dame, which meant the Irish were for all intent and purposes the No. 5 team heading into the afternoon and evening games.

The Irish needed just one more victory to go in its direction, but alas it was not meant to be.

No. 3 Alabama (12-1) pounded top-ranked Georgia (12-1) by a 41-24 score, which secured a second SEC spot in the playoff. No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0) dismantled No. 21 Houston (11-2) by a 35-20 score. No. 2 Michigan (12-1) put the dagger through when it dominated No. 13 Iowa (10-3) by a 42-3 score.

Barring Georgia falling all the way down to No. 5, the Fighting Irish will likely come up just one spot short of its third playoff appearance in four seasons.

Notre Dam lost just one game, falling to the Bearcats by a 24-13 score back on October 2. The Irish had a schedule many expected to be quite challenging, but heading into the final weekend none of the eleven teams Notre Dame beat this season were ranked in the Top 25. Notre Dame's resume was built around a pair of wins over 8-4 Big Ten West teams (Wisconsin, Purdue). 

Notre Dame's next two "best wins" were over 7-5 Toledo and 6-6 North Carolina. Simply put, despite the fact I believe Notre Dame is clearly playing like one of the four best teams in the country, the Irish don't have a strong enough resume to leap ahead of Georgia, who owns three wins over current Top 25 opponents.

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