On Tuesday night, the chair of the College Football Playoff selection committee, Gary Barta, suggested that not only could the CFP committee consider docking Notre Dame for its coach bolting to LSU, but that it would be in the committee’s outlined protocols to take coach availability into account.

The Irish are 11-1, but seeing as they don’t play for a conference championship, they’re sitting idle until the CFP decides whether to include them in the 4-team field or not. They don’t get a 13th data point, as conference championships are usually referred to. In lieu of that, perhaps Kelly’s departure becomes the 13th data point. “If anybody is in our conversations that has a player (or coach) that won’t be available, and the committee deems that it’s likely it will affect the outcome … then that can be discussed and can be considered,” Barta said.

On Wednesday, speaking on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday morning, Kelly made his case for why Notre Dame should still be in the conversation despite his departure for LSU.

“I think they’re one of the 4 best teams in the country and they deserve to play in the College Football Playoff,” he said plainly.

Notre Dame’s only loss this season was to Cincinnati, 24-13 at home, on Oct. 2. The Irish have won 7 straight since that game, with the last 4 coming by an average of 35 points per. Before leaving, Kelly positioned the Irish for potentially its 2nd straight CFP appearance and the 3rd in the last 4 years. Over his tenure in South Bend, he became the all-time leader in wins for a Notre Dame coach and moved up to 3rd among active FBS coaches in wins, just behind Nick Saban and Mack Brown.

“The charge that I had was to modernize Notre Dame football, bring it back to relevance and consistency as one of the top programs in the country and we check all those boxes,” he said. “I was never going to Notre Dame to be the all-time winningest coach, that kind of happened along the way. Our process was about graduating champions and we did that, the outcomes were what they were. But that was never my intent. It was to modernize the football program, which we did with infrastructure and improvements. It was certainly about consistency in performance and graduating our football players. All of those things were accomplished and I didn’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I’ve done all this,’ and kind of said, ‘Alright, it’s time to move on.’ But I saw (LSU) as an incredible opportunity and excited about the next chapter.”