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#pounditMonday, October 3, 2022

Marcus Freeman hire likely to help Notre Dame’s playoff chances?

Marcus Freeman before a game

The College Football Playoff selection committee sparked some worry for Notre Dame after admitting that coach Brian Kelly’s abrupt departure might negatively impact the school’s playoff chances. Those worries are no longer in play, partly because of who the Irish tapped as Kelly’s replacement.

CFP committee chairman Gary Barta said Saturday that the committee had discussed the Notre Dame situation, and it will no longer factor into the evaluation of the Fighting Irish. Barta attributed that to the fact that Notre Dame made an internal hire in coach Marcus Freeman, and that the majority of the school’s assistants were staying instead of following Kelly to LSU.

This is the way it should be. Kelly and his coaching certainly helped Notre Dame, and he did recruit the players. It was those players, however, who put in the work and posted an 11-1 record. Kelly himself readily admitted to that.

Barta had previously suggested that the instability at Notre Dame could work against them in playoff consideration. Now that that’s off the table, the team’s chances look better than ever thanks in part to a dramatic result in the Big 12 Championship.

Photo: Oct 2, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman enters Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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