Notre Dame One Of Five Programs With The Best Chance To Win A Title
There have been 28 seasons since 1992, which CBS Sports writer Tom Fornelli calls the “modern” era of college football. During that stretch, 14 teams have combined to win those 28 national championships, and Notre Dame is not among those programs.
Fornelli noted that only 10.8% of the programs at the FBS level in college football have won a title in the last almost three decades. In a recent article, Fornelli broke down five programs on the verge of winning a title, and the Fighting Irish were listed in that breakdown.
“Notre Dame may not be a member of a Power Five conference, but it is still a Power Five program. Plus, considering its scheduling agreement with the ACC, one could argue that the Irish are the second-best team in the league. Like Georgia, Notre Dame has already reached the College Football Playoff. Unlike Georgia, it did not reach the title game but was instead crushed by the same Clemson squad that steamrolled Alabama in the CFP National Championship that year.
“As for Notre Dame's ability to get back there, its independence is a two-edged sword. Notre Dame has to go undefeated to have a realistic shot of making the playoff; however, after starting a season 12-0, it doesn't have to go 13-0 since it has no conference championship to play in. Thanks to its ACC schedule agreement and its national rivalries, it will always have a strong enough schedule to boost its resume should it go 12-0. The Irish recruit well enough -- their classes sometimes crack the top 10 and are usually within the top 15 -- to ensure that they remain a viable option.”
My first issue with Fornelli’s analysis, which is mostly fair, is the aspect of Notre Dame needing to go undefeated to make the College Football Playoff. This is yet another media driven narrative that isn’t grounded in reality. In 2016 and 2017 a non-conference winner with a loss made the College Football Playoff, and neither was named Notre Dame.
Had Notre Dame defeated Miami and Stanford to end the 2017 season, does anyone think the one-loss Irish would have dropped down from the No. 3 ranking in the CFP poll, which is where they were prior to the Miami loss?
Of course not. Whether or not Notre Dame needs to be undefeated depends on Notre Dame’s schedule, and whether or not the CFB season ends up more like 2018 and 2019, when three undefeated teams made the playoff, or more like the 2017 season when no one entered the post-season undefeated.
I would also take issue with his notion that Notre Dame has recruited well enough to win a national championship. That has been true of past teams, but Notre Dame’s overall recruiting efforts in recent seasons have not been good enough to compete for a title.
There are positions where the Irish have flourished, but the coach responsible for much of that is now gone, and Notre Dame’s overall defensive recruiting in recent seasons hasn’t been quite as good as it needs to be.
Georgia, Oregon, Penn State and Texas A&M were the other four programs to make this list.
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