Here's how College Football Playoff expansion will impact Notre Dame
The College Football Playoff’s pending expansion impacts Notre Dame in several ways — especially if the university decides to remain independent.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick previously said that Notre Dame’s access to the Playoff is one of a couple factors in its ability to remain independent into the future.
With the new Playoff expansion proposal announced on Friday afternoon, there’s now clarity on what that will look like for Notre Dame.
First, the bad news: Under these current guidelines, Notre Dame would not be able to receive a first-round bye in a 12-team format. That’s because the top 4 seeds are reserved for the 4 highest-ranked conference champions in the College Football Playoff committee rankings.
Additionally, 6 of the 12 spots in the new CFP will be reserved for non-conference champions. The College Football Playoff Committee will continue to rank teams as they have since 2014.
However, it’s possible Notre Dame was willing to forego the opportunity to be a top-4 seed, given the financial benefits in hosting a first-round matchup. Under this proposal, seeds No. 5-8 will host first-round Playoff matchups on campus each season.
Notre Dame would also be increasing its chances to make the Playoff each season. There would be 6 spots available for non-conference champions in the College Football Playoff.
That represents a significant increase under the current system. In the last 8 playoffs, only 5 total non-conference champions have featured in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame (2018 and 2020) accounts for 2 of those examples.
The Fighting Irish had representation on the Board of Managers (Rev. John Jenkins), which is the committee who wrote this proposal. Swarbrick serves on the College Football Playoff Management Committee.