Missed Opportunity For Notre Dame In 2019

Bryan Driskell

The 2019 season played out in a way that should have set Notre Dame up for another great shot to get into the College Football Playoff.

Should have.

The schedule was set up perfectly, with Notre Dame having enough big games (Georgia, Michigan, USC) for the Irish to earn credibility had it won at least two of those games. The rest of its schedule had some quality opponents as well, with Navy winning nine games and Virginia winning nine games and the ACC Coastal division.

The rest of the schedule was soft enough for Notre Dame to not suffer through the same grind it has in past seasons. The 2017 season comes to mind in that regards.

All Notre Dame had to do was split its two big road games, and be competitive in the game they lost.

Notre Dame was competitive in the first big road game it lost, falling to Georgia by a 23-17 score, but it’s a game the Irish should have won. The Irish got the ball at their own 48-yard line with 1:51 left in the game, but the they could not get it done.

That loss gave Notre Dame clout because many outside analysts didn’t think the Irish could compete against the Bulldogs. The rest of the schedule was set up nicely, and Notre Dame got to travel to Michigan to take on a 2-loss Wolverine team for a final statement game. Win that game and Notre Dame is in position to have a very, very strong playoff resume.

It would be Notre Dame or Oklahoma.

Look at the resumes.

Notre Dame - 11-1
Oklahoma - 12-1

Wins over FBS teams: Notre Dame 11, Oklahoma 11

Opponent record:

Notre Dame - 80-64
Oklahoma - 82-76

Record of teams they beat:

Notre Dame - 69-62
Oklahoma - 74-72

Wins over Top 25 teams:

Notre Dame - 4
Oklahoma - 2 (three if you count Baylor twice)

Wins over teams with a winning record:

Notre Dame - 6
Oklahoma - 5

Wins over bowl eligible teams:

Notre Dame - 8
Oklahoma - 5

Notre Dame would have a defense that ranks 7th nationally in efficiency according to the Fremeau Efficiency Index and an offense that ranks 27th nationally.

Oklahoma’s offense is ranked 7th nationally in efficiency according to the FEI, but its defense ranks 70th.

Oklahoma’s loss would be to 8-4 Kansas State while Notre Dame would have lost to an 11-2 Georgia team.

Notre Dame also would have ended the season extremely hot, with the Irish winning its last four games by an average of 29.3 points, including a win over a ranked Navy squad.

But it was not meant to be. Notre Dame once again came up short in a big game. Not only that, Notre Dame got embarrassed, and its ranking has yet to recover despite having a better resume than several teams ranked ahead of it.

We would have found out whether or not a one-loss Notre Dame team could make the playoff, and I believe they would have got it done. The committee clearly wasn’t enamored with Oklahoma, and the Irish would have had a resume that could have shaken things up.

Oh what could have been!

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Comments (11)
No. 1-3

I’ll go ahead and say it... if Quinn returns as Oline coach, 2020 is likely to be a year of missed opportunities too. Can’t imagine his Oline is going to do much against Wisconsin and Clemson’s defense.... even with all 5 starters returning.


On the article... you’re dead on that this season was one of missed opportunities. Everything played out perfectly for ND to beat Georgia, and the offense couldn’t hold their end. We went into Michigan with an extra week to prepare, and were still unprepared for that game. I still don’t believe ND could have beaten LSU or a Clemson this year, not with Book and this Oline... but going 11-1 and being in the conversation would have been great for the program and recruiting.


With UVA getting killed, can ND go to the Orange Bowl?