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One of the first things people noticed about the proposed expanded College Football Playoff is that it rewards the top conference champions. Specifically, it gives first-round byes to the top four conference champions in the 12-team field.
With Notre Dame reclaiming its independence after a one-year absence, that would mean it can fare no better than the top seed without a bye. Many Irish fans cried foul, and longtime Irish haters were gleeful over the possibility of the program having the join a conference permanently.
Hold up, though. Not only does Notre Dame appear to be fine with this, but athletic director Jack Swarbrick was on the four-person committee that came up with the proposed playoff expansion. Here are some of Swarbrick’s thoughts as tweeted by Pete Sampson, the Notre Dame beat reporter for The Athletic:
So yeah, it may not look great for the Irish on paper, but it still works out for them in practice. If they had a team that was good enough, they still would be able to rest during conference championship week, and they always would be able to host a first-round game in South Bend. That being the case, the “Notre Dame must join a conference” crowd will have to keep shouting that argument for now. The Irish are staying independent, and that’s all they want.