The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are not going to the College Football Playoff. They were revealed to be the team in the fifth spot of the ranking. That is the worst possible ranking to be in because it means that you just missed it. There is a decent chance that being a part of a conference could have allowed them to be ranked higher.
However, that might not be the case this year. They didn’t go undefeated which is normally a must for Notre Dame to make it in their non-conference situation. However, things were different this year because they had some help. There was a real chance that they made it with a loss but there was one game that defined the entire season for the Irish.
Notre Dame got off to a 4-0 start in 2021 but people were pessimistic. They weren’t a very dominant team and didn’t look like a Notre Dame team that was going to be a playoff-caliber performer. That opinion felt solidified after they lost their fifth game to the Cincinnati Bearcats and became a 4-1 football team with lots of questions to answer.
Cincinnati is a “group of five” school that would lose to Notre Dame on most occasions. However, this Bearcats team was different. They ended up winning every game on their 2021 schedule and are now going to be the first “group of five” school to play in the College Football Playoff in history. Their win over Notre Dame is their most significant and a big reason they got in.
Notre Dame will not be going to the College Football Playoff this season.
Of course, Cincinnati is in as the four seed so one spot ahead of Notre Dame. If the Irish would have won that game, they would be in as the four seed (or maybe even three seed) and Cincinnati would probably barely be in the top ten.
In that game, they were tied after one quarter. Unfortunately, the Bearcats scored 17 points in the second quarter to go up 17-0 going into the second half. In the latter half of the game, the Irish scored 13 and allowed another 7 to Cincinnati, and lost the game 24-13. It is unfortunate that a week five loss defined the season but that’s the way it goes.
Now, Notre Dame will play Oklahoma State in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. It is going to be a very good matchup of two teams that had one game define their entire season. Meanwhile, the Bearcat’s reward for making the playoffs is a date with Alabama. There is no doubt that this season will always be remembered as one of the more interesting ones.