Paul Finebaum believes Notre Dame has no one but itself to blame for one key aspect of the new College Football Playoff.

The new format for the Playoff was officially announced Tuesday with a 5+7 selection process, awarding automatic bids to the 5 highest-ranked conference champions. From that group, the first 4 highest-ranked conference champions will receive first-round byes while seeds 5-12 will face off in on-campus games.

Notre Dame notably remains independent, meaning the Fighting Irish cannot qualify as one of the top 4 seeds. That means there is a scenario where Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 in the country but cannot be seeded higher than No. 5 for the Playoff.

During Wednesday’s broadcast of ESPN’s “First Take,” Finebaum admitted Notre Dame is “the big controversy” from the new format. However, it is likely overblown as Finebaum believes the Fighting Irish will never be No. 1 any time soon.

“What if Notre Dame was No. 1? Well, first of all, that’s not going to happen,” claimed Finebaum. “Marcus Freeman is a good coach but they’re not going to be No. 1. But if they were, it’s their own fault! Notre Dame remains an independent. For what reason, I don’t know.”

Finebaum went on to reiterate Notre Dame has no one to blame but itself with the final vote for the format needing to be unanimous:

“Whatever happens at Notre Dame is their own fault. This (vote) has to be unanimous, so you get all the people in the room. They have to do some horse trading, it’s not perfect but it’s much better than it was. And as for Notre Dame, cry me a river.”

Stephen A. Smith joined the conversation, vehemently questioning why anyone feels Notre Dame is still relevant these days:

“The Notre Dame Fighting Irish in college football have not won a championship since 1988 when they won in the Fiesta Bowl, I believe against West Virginia. If my math is correct, that’s 36 years without a national championship,” Smith said.

With 7 at-large bids available, Notre Dame is unlikely to face a struggle to get into the Playoff during a strong season. However, it will be interesting to see if the specific format hinders the Irish from getting to the quarterfinals any time soon.