It all depends on whether Notre Dame wins #15 on Saturday night (7:30 a.m. ET, ABC). If the Irish lose, then this whole hypothetical scenario will go down the drain.
It is quite possible that Notre Dame will win (8-3). His current five-game winning streak has been impressive enough to win back the respect the Irish lost 3-3. The Trojans (10-1) are favorites with just 5.5 points, which is valuable context as we delve into this marvel, can Notre Dame make a cotton bowl?
Whether it is preferable to play the Cotton Bowl against an AAC champion or the Holiday Bowl against a strong Pac-12 opponent, for example, is another matter. The fact is that the Irish will not have a voice in this debate. Either they finish the season with a high enough rating from the playoff selection committee to be required to play in the Cotton Bowl, or they don’t.
That ranking will come down to how Notre Dame compares to current numbers 9-14 after the poll was updated Tuesday night.
Map out the playoff scenario however you want – “If LSU beats Georgia…”, “If TCU loses…” – the conclusion remains fairly consistent: A victory over USC may not be enough for the Irish; to jump with all six teams straight ahead, the Irish may need to dominate the Trojans.
Some of those scenarios include Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl (with TCU in the playoffs), and some slide Tennessee into the Orange Bowl (requires two SEC teams in the playoffs), but otherwise, the question is how Notre Dame compares to Oregon, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Washington, and Utah.
If that thought process has changed dramatically in a week, thank you Volunteers for the devastating defeat in South Carolina. Suddenly, it’s not certain that Tennessee will stay ahead of the Irish no matter what they do this week. This opens the board.
However, volunteers can still be a hurdle that the Irish can’t overcome.
No. 9 Oregon – in Oregon State (3:30 p.m. ET; ABC) – Good wins: vs. UCLA, vs. Utah – Bad losses: none.
No. 10 Tennessee – in Vanderbilt (7:30 ET; SECN) – Good wins: in LSU against Alabama – Bad losses: in South Carolina.
No. 11 Penn State – vs. Michigan State (4 ET; FS1) – Good wins: none – Serious losses: none
No. 12 Kansas State – vs. Kansas (8 ET; FOX) – Good wins: vs. Oklahoma State – Bad losses: vs. Tulane.
No. 13 Washington – Washington State (10:30 AM ET; ESPN) – Good Wins: Oregon – Big Losses: Arizona.
No. 14 Utah – in Colorado (4 ET; P12N) – Good wins: against USC – Serious losses: none.
No. 15 Notre Dame – at USC (7:30 ET; ABC) – Good wins: vs. Clemson, hypothetically at USC – Bad losses: vs. Marshall, vs. Stanford.
Note. Oregon and Kansas State are likely to play in the conference title games. Kansas State’s victory over TCU would hurt the Irish’s chances unless the Horned Frogs make the playoffs. Oregon’s victory over USC is irrelevant as it will be the Trojans’ second loss in a row, which will most likely knock them out of the top 12 no matter what.
So Notre Dame has to beat USC, get TCU to win the Big 12, and…trust a committee that will ignore September.
A win over Clemson and USC would be a better pair of wins than either of those six teams, but for Tennessee (9-2). Losing at home to Marshall and Stanford looks a lot worse than losing volunteers in Georgia and South Carolina.
So it’s hard to imagine the Irish making it to the New Year’s Six Bowl unless they devastate the Trojans, like their 35-13 win over Clemson and 44-0 loss to Boston College this month.
Of course, Tennessee is now without a star quarterback. Hendon Hooker. It is possible that the Volunteers will lose out to former Notre Dame defensive coordinator and current Vanderbilt head coach. Clark Lee. The two Irish defense coordinators since Lee’s departure would greatly appreciate it if they could get to USC at the same time.
Any losses among these six teams will help Notre Dame make a name for itself.
Oregon: As of Wednesday afternoon, 3 is preferred in Oregon (3:30 AM ET; ABC).
Tennessee: Favored 14 at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET; SECN).
Penn State: 18.5 in favor of Michigan State (4 ET; FS1).
Kansas State: Up 11.5 vs. Kansas (8 ET; FOX).
Washington: Approved 2 in Washington State (10:30 AM ET; ESPN).
Utah: Favored 30 in Colorado (4 ET; P12N).
Our lady: Underdog with 5.5 points at USC (7:30 ET; ABC).
It was interesting to hear Marcus Freeman talk about the USC rivalry this week. Not underestimating, but “I’m still learning.”
Brian Kelly first REALLY entered the competition just last year when he finished 12th at Notre Dame. Scored that week, made it an active thought in the program. https://t.co/mGz1C3NtXD
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) November 23, 2022
If not for the cotton bowl, The Irish will end up somewhere in the front row of the ACC bowl tie-ins. It becomes more of a subjective exercise, but the more visible half of this level includes…
Holiday Bowl in San Diego on December 28 against rival Pac 12.
Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando on December 29 against a Big 12 opponent.
Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte on December 30 against a Big Ten opponent.
Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on Dec. 30 against an SEC opponent.
The biggest hole in Notre Dame’s 2023 recruiting class has been filled. Quarterback Kenny Minci joined the Irish on Tuesday after spending the weekend in South Bend watching Notre Dame (8-3) thrash Boston College 44-0 in the snow.
That snow didn’t scare away the Tennessee product three-star perspective site of competing sites but one that is likely to get a ratings boost in the coming weeks. Rivals ranks him as the No. 14 professional quarterback in the nation.
Minci (Pope John Paul II Preparatory School; Hendersonville, TN) spent much of the past year in Pittsburgh before leaving less than two weeks ago. Although initially chased by the states of Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan and Vanderbilt, the leader when Minci returned to the market was clearly Notre Dame.
The 6-foot-1 ½-inch, 207-pound All-American is now required to sign with the Irish on December 21, when the early signing period begins, and check in in January.
“Everything will be closed” Minchi said Inside ND Sport. “Just really excited after getting up on campus, meeting the coaches. And I’m glad to know that I have a place to call home and that I’m going to go to Notre Dame.”
A shoulder injury cut short Minci’s senior season after just four games; he threw for 768 yards and 11 touchdowns with one interception at 73.4% completion. He returned for one playoff game – 260 yards and four touchdowns, a 57.6% completion percentage – but injury again sidelined him in the next round.
Minchi is still expected to play in the All-American Bowl in early January, so a shoulder injury shouldn’t be a long-term concern. If this has a long-term impact, perhaps losing this stretch of games will leave Minci relatively inexperienced at reading defenses.
However, he has a strong arm that can send the ball into the outfield even if his body isn’t fully set. This power also gives it a quicker release when needed, strong enough not to need a full windup.
Minchi keeps her eyes up as she moves in her pocket. He’s not the fastest quarterback, but he’s agile.
His deep passes are accurate in their accuracy, perhaps reflecting both Minci’s chemistry with his teammates and his accuracy, although he won the Elite 11 quarterback camp’s accuracy challenge in June.
There were several names in this camp related to…