Join a conference already? Notre Dame learns where it stands in 12-team Playoff climate
As details came out Thursday about the proposed new 12-team College Football Playoff, one of the blue bloods of the sport found out that being in a conference might be more advantageous than being an independent.
That’s the place Notre Dame finds itself in the format which has the six highest-ranked conference champions, and six remaining highest-ranked teams. The four highest-ranked conference champions would receive first-round byes and teams 5-12 would face each other in four games played on campus sometime during the two-week period following conference championship weekend in early December.
“We cannot qualify for a bye,” Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick said on a media conference call. “It’s limited to the four highest-ranked conference champions. I look forward to never hearing again about how we played one less game or don’t have a conference championship.”
He was then asked why Notre Dame and other independents didn’t push for a bye.
“From my perspective, it was an appropriate trade-off to get a model that I thought was the right one for college football,” he said. “Even though we don’t play in a conference, I recognize the importance of strong conferences and providing opportunity to the G5. We wanted to do that. And then finally as I said somewhat sarcastically earlier in this, I do think it’s helpful to us to be able to say, look, Alabama put its position at risk in its title game, or Oklahoma put its position at risk in its conference title game. We’re doing the same thing in the first round. We are on par in that regard, other than not enjoying a potential 1 through 4 seed.”