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#pounditWednesday, December 7, 2022

Notre Dame could be penalized by CFP for Brian Kelly leaving

Brian Kelly in Notre Dame gear

Brian Kelly may have hurt Notre Dame in more ways than one by leaving them for LSU.

Notre Dame is 11-1 and ranked No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings. They theoretically would need two of No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Cincinnati or No. 5 Oklahoma State to lose this weekend, in order to move up two spots to qualify for the Playoff, which features just the top four teams.

But that might not actually be enough.

CFP chairman Gary Barta said on ESPN Tuesday that the committee’s criteria does take into account the availability of players and coaches for games. That means Notre Dame could be penalized for not having Kelly coaching a playoff game.

Even with Barta making that acknowledgment, Notre Dame’s chances of making the playoff shouldn’t change considering they are guaranteed to be one of the (at most) six 1-loss teams.

If only Georgia loses, the top four will probably remain the same. The Fighting Irish still need two of Bama, Michigan, Cincinnati or Oklahoma State to lose. But if Cincinnati and say Michigan lose, while Oklahoma State wins, would the committee keep Notre Dame ranked ahead of Cincinnati despite losing to them head-to-head, or would they just pick a 2-loss team instead? Maybe that’s the scenario under which Notre Dame would qualify. Or, maybe in that scenario, the CFP would penalize Notre Dame for losing Kelly and include a 2-loss Alabama team in the Playoff.

Maybe with Kelly leaving, Notre Dame now needs three teams ahead of them (not named Georgia) to lose in order to qualify.

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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