The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had a chance at making the College Football Playoff despite going through a tumultuous off-week, but they came up just short, as the Irish finished fifth in the final playoff rankings.
Notre Dame, who saw former head coach Brian Kelly leave South Bend and then hired Marcus Freeman as their new head coach this week, got a glimmer of hope on Saturday when Oklahoma State lost the Big XII championship game to Baylor, but wins by Alabama, Michigan and Cincinnati locked them into the playoffs, leaving the Irish on the outside in.
Alabama’s win over Georgia vaulted them into the No. 1 spot in the final playoff rankings. They will take on Cincinnati, who gave Notre Dame their only loss of the season, in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31 in Dallas.
Michigan, who beat Iowa in convincing fashion to capture the Big Ten championship on Saturday, was given the No. 2 seed, and will play No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl for the other playoff semifinal.
It is not known which bowl game the Fighting Irish will be slotted into. Ohio State, who finished in sixth in the playoff ranking, will take on the Pac 12 champion Utah Utes in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.