Little Movement For Notre Dame In Latest CFP Rankings

Bryan Driskell

Any chance of Notre Dame making a big enough leap in the rankings to snag a New Year's Six Bowl berth were dashed when the latest College Football Playoff rankings were released.

The Irish checked in at No. 15 in the latest rankings. Notre Dame ended the regular season with a 10-2 record after blowing out its last four opponents, and it owns three wins over current CFP Top 25 teams, but a pair of three-loss opponents and five other 10-2 squads still rank ahead of the Irish.

Notre Dame's two losses were to No. 4 Georgia (23-17) and No. 14 Michigan (45-14). The Irish earned victories over No. 22 USC (30-27), No. 23 Virginia (35-20) and No. 24 Navy (52-20).

Michigan ranking ahead of Notre Dame as the most interesting. The Wolverines obviously have a convincing head-to-head victory over the Irish, but Michigan also suffered blowout losses at the hands of No. 8 Wisconsin (35-14) and No. 1 Ohio State (56-27), and also lost to No. 10 Penn State (28-21).

Having three-loss Iowa at No. 16 was also a puzzling ranking, as it has been for weeks. Iowa defeated No. 18 Minnesota (23-19), but is currently 1-3 against ranked opponents, with losses to No. 14 Michigan (10-3), No. 10 Penn State (17-12) and No. 8 Wisconsin (24-22). It would appear that Iowa is getting a lot of credit for close losses much more than it is who it defeated.

Memphis, for example, is 11-1 and has wins over a pair of CFP Top 25 opponents, No. 20 Cincinnati (34-24) and No. 24 Navy (35-23). 

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Comments (4)
No. 1-3

The committee seems to value head-to-head games when they are between ranked teams, but not when a ranked team is playing an unranked team. Here's my evidence:

The committee went out of their way to make sure ranked head-on-head results get a high priority. They moved Alabama down far on the list just to get them behind Auburn, who they lost to. Auburn's 3 losses prevented them from moving Auburn up to minimize the amount Alabama dropped. Auburn is ranked ahead of Oregon, whom they beat. Baylor lost to OK, so Baylor is one behind OK, so that's consistent, as is ND being behind Michigan one spot. There are many more examples of head-on-head games of ranked teams being given priority.

The committee does ignores that principle when it ranks PSU ahead of Minnesota, though they lost to Minn, both ranked, but that's the only exception I found.

What's truly bizarre is that the committee appears to ignore head-on-head when it involves a ranked team versus an unranked team. GA lost to unranked SC UT lost to unranked USC OK lost to unranked KSU Wiscy lost to unranked IL None of these teams seem to have been punished by these terrible losses. It's like teams get a pass for being off one game against an unranked team. If head-to-head matters so much, as it clearly does, then losing to an unranked team should send you down below that team you lost to, while bringing up the team you lost to preserve the principle.

The fact is we don't have a good theory on how to rank teams in any sport, and I'm sure the committee is doing the best it can, but this committee is the weakest of the ones we've had by far.


Notre Dame continues to get punished for how bad we lost to Michigan on the road but the Wolverines don't get punished for their blowout lost to Ohio State at home.


Still possible for this team to finish in the top 10 of the AP.. that’s got to be the hope right now.. get that 11th win, hopefully finish the year ranked in the top 10 for the 2nd straight year, get to the offseason and address the issues holding this offense and overall team back from the elite...