Notre Dame

Could lack of 13th game still be a problem for Notre Dame?


Could lack of 13th game still be a problem for Notre Dame?

File this away for a cross-that-bridge-when-we-get-there concern: Notre Dame’s lack of a 13th game very well could hold them back from reaching the College Football Playoff in the near future.

Of course, Notre Dame would have to get to 11-1 to even make this a debate. But let’s say the Irish polish off a one-loss season with a win over Stanford in Palo Alto this November. Depending on how things shake out in the other Power Five conferences, the final week of the season could be an awfully stressful one in South Bend.

Arkansas AD and College Football Playoff selection committee chairman Jeff Long last week reiterated the fact that Baylor and TCU were snubbed from the four-team tournament in part because both only played 12 games, while one-loss teams in Ohio State, Alabama and Oregon all played a conference championship for their 13th game. The 10-team Big 12 does not have a conference championship game.

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So even if Notre Dame had strong wins over Clemson, USC and/or Stanford, it could be held out of the playoff because its independent schedule only has 12 games on it. Whether or not that’s fair isn’t the issue here, since precedent has already been set by the selection committee.

Still, that precedent has only been in place for one year. The selection committee proved to be unpredictable last year, and without a concrete system for ranking teams (or even using widely-available enhanced data) there’s no telling what this group will do this fall. We’ll probably need to be five or so years into the playoff format to get a good grasp on how the selection committee can be expected to operate.

That puts Notre Dame in an awkward spot, with maintaining football independence a priority on campus. Don’t expect Irish officials to budge on that one — especially because there is a belief, at least from coach Brian Kelly, that the playoff will expand to at least eight teams sometime in the future. And when it does, 11-1 would certainly get the Irish into the playoffs, rendering this a moot issue.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up Notre Dame fans]

Contrary to the knee-jerk belief of some corners of the Internet, the College Football Playoff selection committee doesn’t have some deep-seeded bias against Notre Dame (the playoff is about money, and Notre Dame brings in more money than most schools, so why would there be any hate there?). The bias against Notre Dame, though, is the same one applied to Baylor and TCU last fall: Limiting a schedule to 12 games is a detriment.

So the clearest immediate solution to this potential issue: Go undefeated and leave no doubt when the field is announced in early December.

Notre Dame - Navy football game scheduled in Dublin moved back to U.S.

Notre Dame - Navy football game scheduled in Dublin moved back to U.S.

The Navy-Notre Dame football game that was set to be played in Ireland has been relocated to the United States, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that the game which was originally going to take place in Dublin on Aug. 29 will “likely” be played over Labor Day weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday.

The teams plan on playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which will be a first in the 94-year rivalry history. Every previous matchup hosted by Navy has been played at a neutral site.

“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved.

“I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large.”

Jack Swarbrick, Vice President of Notre Dame, and James E. Rorh, Director of Athletics at Notre made a joint statement as well.

“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” they said. “The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”

RELATED: Notre Dame will allow students back on campus this fall

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Notre Dame will allow students back on campus for 2020 fall semester

Notre Dame will allow students back on campus for 2020 fall semester

Notre Dame University announced on Monday that it will welcome students back on campus on August 10. That’s two weeks earlier than the fall semester was initially scheduled to begin. In addition, Notre Dame will forgo a fall break in October, and will instead end the semester before Thanksgiving.

In the announcement Notre Dame said they consulted with experts for months to develop their plan to welcome students back onto campus.

The plan to return includes comprehensive COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff. It also includes contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces.

“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” Notre Dame’s president Rev. John I. Jenkins wrote in a letter to students. “Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed. We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet.”

Father Jenkins also wrote that the university is currently developing a plan to reopen research labs, studios and libraries in coming weeks.

In case of an outbreak, or if the university is unable to provide adequate testing, Notre Dame faculty have been asked to prepare both in-person and remote curricula for their classes. The remote curricula would also help any student keep up with classwork if they need to be quarantined.

The university is also developing criteria to determine whether or not to offer study abroad programs in the fall. That decision will be announced in June.

Notre Dame sent home all students in mid-March to complete their spring semesters remotely. They also canceled all summer classes, except for a small number of students who needed to complete summer work to prepare for the fall semester.