It’s been an incredibly eventful off-week for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but things got even more wild on Saturday with Oklahoma State’s loss to Baylor in the Big XII championship game.
The Cowboys’ loss, their second of the season, likely eliminates them from contention for the College Football Playoff, and potentially opens the door for the Fighting Irish to sneak into the playoff, despite not having a scheduled game this week.
It's been an eventful week for Notre Dame, with Marcus Freeman being named the school's new head football coach this week after Brian Kelly left to take the same job at LSU.
Notre Dame came into the week in the No. 6 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Oklahoma State, previously No. 5 in those rankings, stood a good chance of getting into the playoff if Alabama were to lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship game, but those hopes were dashed after they couldn’t score a go-ahead touchdown in the closing seconds against the Bears Saturday afternoon.
Now, if the Crimson Tide, ranked No. 3 in the playoff rankings, lose to the top-ranked Bulldogs, then Notre Dame could potentially jump into the top-four and secure a spot in the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive season.
The Irish will also be keeping a close eye on two other conference championship games scheduled for Saturday. In the Big Ten championship game, the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines will take on Iowa in Indianapolis. No. 4 Cincinnati, looking to become the first ever “Group of Five” team to reach the playoff, will take on Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
If either the Wolverines or Bearcats lose, then the Fighting Irish could have yet another avenue opened up to them in the hunt for a playoff berth.
The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released at 11 a.m. Sunday, revealing the two semifinal matchups in the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl, which will be played on Dec. 31. The National Championship Game will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10.