2014 shows what Notre Dame is up against for CFP

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In 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff format, TCU and Baylor went into the final weekend of the year ranked fourth and sixth, respectively. Both won, TCU 55-3 over Iowa State, while Baylor beat a top-10 Kansas State team.

However, both failed to be ranked in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings a week later when the actual playoff seedings were announced.

How could that be?

At that time the Big 12 didn’t play a conference championship game while each of the other Power Five conferences did.

Ohio State, who was ranked fifth in the previous poll, jumped into the top four after dismantling Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten championship and went onto eventually win it all from that four-seed.

Oklahoma State checked in one spot behind Notre Dame last night in the new College Football Playoff rankings. Oklahoma checked in tenth despite being 10-1. The two play each other this week and if Oklahoma wins, would meet again next week in the Big 12 championship. If Oklahoma State wins then they’d likely face Baylor in the championship game.

What does it have to do with Notre Dame?

The issue of not having a conference championship game. I don’t look at it as having a 13th piece of data to look at because when you examine either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, non-conference wins Tulane and Missouri State didn’t exactly come against world-beaters.

Related: Notre Dame’s most up-to-date national bowl projections

But then again Notre Dame has a win over Navy who is having one of their worst seasons in recent memory. As impressive as it may have been on the scoreboard, it hardly was so in the bigger picture.

The Big 12 was picked over seven years ago because they didn’t have a conference title game. Seven years later it very well could be that conference championship game that earns them a playoff spot over a one-loss Notre Dame team.

Or it could be what hands Oklahoma or Oklahoma State that second loss that Notre Dame fans will be rooting for next weekend.

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