The latest College Football Playoff rankings came out on Tuesday, and Notre Dame (11-1) just missed a top-four spot, coming in at No. 6.
Following the unveiling of the rankings on ESPN, College Football Playoff committee chairman Gary Barta joined the show to discuss the latest top 25. One topic of conversation was Brian Kelly’s recent departure from Notre Dame to move to LSU. He will not coach Notre Dame should it make the playoff, so how would his absence impact the Fighting Irish’s ranking?
MORE: Will Brian Kelly coach if Notre Dame makes the College Football Playoff?
The selection committee’s protocol for missing players and coaches didn’t apply to the latest rankings, as Notre Dame isn’t playing this weekend. Therefore, the Fighting Irish’s No. 6 ranking wasn’t determined by the Kelly news. However, Barta did say that it might have an impact on Notre Dame’s ranking in the final rankings on Sunday.
“This week it didn’t apply. … Once the championship games wrap up, to your point, our protocol does include the ability for the committee to consider a player or coach not being available,” Barta said, via AL.com.
CFP chair Gary Barta on Notre Dame: “The committee is aware of all the coaching changes while we were going through the rankings, this week it didn’t apply…Once the championship games wrap up, our protocol does include the ability to consider a player/coach not being available” pic.twitter.com/ixSyChCBuh
— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTB_Vids_YT) December 1, 2021
MORE: Why is Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame?
Because of the protocol Barta mentioned, it would most likely benefit Notre Dame to hire and/or announce an interim coach by the end of the week, or at least before next Tuesday’s committee meeting. Even so, that might not help Notre Dame’s case.
Notre Dame, an independent, is the only team in the top six that will not compete during conference championship weekend. Because of this, the Fighting Irish do have a chance of climbing the playoff rankings, but need help from No. 1 Georgia (12-0) in beating third-ranked, 11-1 Alabama. Losses by either or both of No. 2 Michigan or No. 5 Oklahoma State would also benefit the Fighting Irish.
MORE: Is there a viable path for Notre Dame to the College Football Playoff? Yes
For now, Notre Dame has to worry about naming a new head coach.
Gary Barta, CFP committee chair, on how Notre Dame could be affected in rankings without Brian Kelly (it’s in protocols to judge teams’ futures based on loss of player or coach):
“At this point we’ll have to wait and see how that factors in.”
Wasn’t discussed this week.
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) December 1, 2021
MORE: Who are the top four teams in fifth CFP poll of 2021?
Barta also mentioned how the committee will have to decide if Kelly’s absence has any factor in Notre Dame’s ranking evaluation next week. It’s possible that it won’t be a factor, but it’s more likely that it will.