Brian Kelly doesn’t have a problem with a one-loss team making the College Football Playoff, even at the expense of an undefeated program from a Power 5 conference.
Apparently, the College Football Playoff committee doesn’t have an issue either.
No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame cracked the top four this week despite one loss. The Tide crushed LSU on Saturday night while the Irish knocked off Pittsburgh on the road. No. 1 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State round out the Top 4.
“If they win out, how is anyone gonna get by Notre Dame?,” said Kirk Herbstreit. “If they keep winning games, including Stanford at the end of the year, I would not want to be behind Notre Dame with four weeks to go.”
No. 5 Iowa and No. 6 Baylor followed the Irish.
No. 7 Stanford and No. 8 Oklahoma State came next, notable for a couple reasons. The Irish will get a shot at a quality win – the Cardinal will too – during Thanksgiving weekend in Palo Alto. The Cowboys jumped six spots after routing previously unbeaten TCU last weekend with Baylor and Oklahoma still on the schedule.
The Irish have wins over No. 22 Temple and No. 20 Navy.
“If I'm sitting there looking at the teams, I think being in it now for 25-plus years, you're looking at strength of schedule, the eye test, who they played, how they've played, and I think we all want to get it right, get the four best teams and have them play,” Kelly said. “I don't think that you can stumble more than once. I think that's where the cutoff point is.
“You can't be inconsistent and be really good, because that can't be part of the equation. But I have no problem with one loss in that group.”