Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Brian Kelly’s departure from Notre Dame and debate if it should affect the Fighting Irish’s chances to make the College Football Playoff.
DAN WETZEL: Notre Dame is right where they should be, 6. But Notre Dame has got a shot to get in because they just need a couple of results here. If Georgia beats Alabama, particularly if it's by more than a touchdown, I don't see-- Alabama's out. If Cincinnati loses to Houston, very viable. They're out. And Notre Dame is going to move right up. There's nobody to jump them.
I just don't think there's-- maybe they can-- Cincinnati can hold them off. I doubt it. I don't know. Michigan loses, Oklahoma State loses. Like if two-- two things happen out of four games, one of which is a favorite, Georgia, and the others are all fairly reasonable, Notre Dame could be in, OK? Which is fine.
But they dust off their protocols tonight and come up with this idea that they can look into the future now. Once the championship games are wrapped up, protocol-- this is Gary Barta-- includes the ability for the committee to consider a player or a coach not being available.
So the fact that Brian Kelly quit on the team is now a variable that Notre Dame has to deal with. Now, Barta says we didn't-- doesn't say what variable, if it's an automatic negative or a positive. But my thing is it's because there is no way to know whether it is a negative or a positive. So why would you make it a criteria at all?
It should not be-- it should not be under any consideration. It is-- we do not-- first of all, it's completely unfair to the Notre Dame players, who their coach bails on them, now get dinged potentially by some committee members. But the truth is no one knows, and no one could ever know whether Notre Dame would play better with Brian Kelly or without Brian Kelly.
Hence because it is in an unknowable, it should never be considered. This is logic. Is Brian Kelly a big asset and the college football playoff? Got his ass kicked twice. I don't know. Maybe-- maybe they're so angry, and if they're playing with Marcus Freeman, that they would be better. We don't know.
Lots of times, the assistant is better. Lots of times, the interim is better. We have zero idea. Shouldn't be a thing. The fact that it's a criteria, it doesn't necessarily bother me in that it'll affect, but it's who failed to think through it all and came up with this. Soap box done.
PAT FORDE: All right, my thoughts on this, for one, I am very surprised that people all of a sudden freaked about this at about 8 o'clock tonight. This-- I don't know. I thought I brought it up on the podcast the other night, but I guess I didn't. Anyway, I talked about it on Big Ten Network.
DAN WETZEL: I thought you were joking.
PAT FORDE: No. No, I wasn't joking.
DAN WETZEL: I was like they couldn't be that stupid to come up with something that is unknowable and make it a criteria.
PAT FORDE: Dan, we've seen it. We saw it with the NCAA Basketball Committee. That's the thing. The basketball tournament where Kenyon Martin breaks his leg. Cincinnati goes from the overall number one seed to a number two seed. So that's the precedent there.
And I've heard them talk about it in basketball several times that we will view a team based on what they will be, what they are bringing into the tournament. Now, I agree with you, we don't know for sure. But I think you could reasonably feel that a team without the winningest coach in its school history might not be as good. I don't know.
DAN WETZEL: Maybe the next coach is going to be the winningest coach in school history.
PAT FORDE: Maybe he is. Maybe he is. But let me put it this way. If Jordan Davis is out for Georgia, is your assumption that they're going to be as good?
DAN WETZEL: I-- why it shouldn't be a factor. I don't know. The third string quarterback must suck. No. He's Cardale Jones. He played in the NFL. You don't know who's going-- you don't know that. It's unknowable.
PAT FORDE: It is--
DAN WETZEL: Hence it shouldn't be a criteria. It should not be allowed to be considered. It is unknowable.
PAT FORDE: My point-- my larger point is this, is it would be-- I would feel very bad for Notre Dame if this is a disqualifying factor. But that was one of actually my thoughts Monday when all this was going down was like, Brian Kelly has double screwed Notre Dame because not only is he screwing them by leaving. But secondly, this could be held against them.
I mean, so I just knew that-- I thought that this would be part of the deal. And maybe people in the committee room will go, we don't care. They might say what you say, Dan. They might say, we don't know whether they'll be better or worse with Marcus Freeman or Tommy Rees or whatever combination they come up with. But to me, like, OK, you can be mad at the committee about this, but I think you should be extra mad at Brian Kelly for putting Notre Dame in this position.