Matt Cashore /

Irish stick at No. 4

Notre Dame held onto its College Football Playoff spot this week by staying at No. 4. The Irish also got a better idea of what they’re up against as the Big 12 battles for position.

For a second-straight week Notre Dame remains in the College Football Playoff field.

After cracking the top four last Tuesday night, Notre Dame remained at No. 4 during the third College Football Playoff rankings with No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State also unchanged.

The Irish also got a closer look at a couple teams that may overhaul them even if they win out.

Winning at previously unbeaten Baylor vaulted Oklahoma five spots from No. 12 up to No. 7. Last week’s big mover, Oklahoma State, is at No. 6. The Sooners and Cowboys meet in Stillwater on Nov. 28, the same day Notre Dame closes the regular season at Stanford.

Potentially problematic next week is the fact that while Notre Dame faces dreadful Boston College on Saturday night at Fenway Park, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will get shots at quality wins. Oklahoma State hosts No. 10 Baylor and Oklahoma hosts No. 18 TCU.

Notre Dame and Oklahoma do share one common opponent: Texas.

The Irish hammered the Longhorns in the season-opener, 38-3.

A month later Texas upset Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, 24-17.

What could also hurt Notre Dame is the lost luster of the season finale at No. 11 Stanford thanks to the Cardinal’s home loss to Oregon last weekend. Stanford slipped four spots in the poll, down from No. 7.

The Irish are still strong in Top 25 matchups, despite the departure of Temple from the rankings. In addition to that two-point loss at Clemson – played in a monsoon, just FYI – Notre Dame has wins over No. 16 Navy and No. 24 USC, which entered the poll on a four-game win streak.

There’s a decent chance Notre Dame could ultimately play five division winners within their conferences in Temple (AAC), Navy (AAC), USC (Pac-12), Stanford (Pac-12) and Clemson (ACC).

Technically, Pittsburgh is alive to win the ACC Coastal, but it would need North Carolina to drop its final two games (at Virginia Tech, at North Carolina State) while the Panthers closed with home wins against Louisville and Miami.

It’s hard to know if Notre Dame will need that kind of resume boost to ultimately make the College Football Playoff. For now, the Irish are in. How much longer they stay there remains an open question. Top Stories