Solving The Notre Dame Problem In The CFP

Erik Gee

When the College Football Playoff Selection Committee unveils it's latest rankings on Tuesday, expect OU to be right where they were last week. OU will most likely ring in as the number seven team in the country, still needing help to nudge in to the final four when last rankings come out the Sunday after the conference championship games.

West Virginia should leap frog the Sooners by way of their victory over Texas, giving them one more signature win than Oklahoma has this season. Georgia or Michigan will be four and five and some combination of Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame will make up the top three.

The real issue is not whether Georgia deserves to be in over Michigan, or OU deserves to be ranked ahead of the Mountaineers. The real issue is whether Rob Mullens and the rest of his cronies have the guts to to freeze the Irish out of the playoff until they start playing by the same rules everybody else does and join a conference.

For too long, Notre Dame has enjoyed the luxury of operating as a football outlier while parking their Olympic sports in either the ACC or Big 10. The Irish haven't had to share revue with other schools from massive television contracts with NBC and Bowl Games, while reaping the rewards for all other sports from the ACC and Big 10 deals.

Moreover, Notre Dame never has to play a conference championship game, which in the past has cost all five of the power conferences opportunities to play for a National Championship. The Irish sit in a catbird seat, knowing any conference would love to have them. And a conference like the Big 12 has shown they will cave to certain schools (Texas) and grant them the ability to keep every penny of revenue from their own network giving them a financial and theoretically a competitive advantage over their fellow schools.

While the Longhorn Network hasn't been the recruiting beast we thought it would, it did succeed in destroying the Big 12 at least cosmetically. To continue to allow Notre Dame to play by their own rules puts at least four of the power conferences at a disadvantage. The SEC is a bit of a different monster. It would be interesting to see if a one loss Alabama would get an edge over an unbeaten Irish considering ESPN owns the SEC network and the rights to the CFP, and the infamous thirteenth data point.

From an Oklahoma standpoint, the Sooners have nothing to complain about this season; beat Texas and you're in control of your own destiny. But somewhere down the road, ND could be a problem, especially if the Big 12 continues to live in mediocrity.

The Irish issue is an easy fix. Freeze them out this season, force them to join one of the power five conferences, and when they've earned the right to be considered one of the four best or four most deserving teams in country, put them in the playoff.

Now, about the idea of four super conferences...