Saturday’s marquee match-up between Notre Dame and Miami already has immense stakes. For starters, it features two top-ten programs facing off in mid-November and, beyond that, there is a lengthy history between the two that adds fuel to the fire.
That backdrop obviously produces implications for the College Football Playoff but, in the mind of ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, they might even be more severe than you might think. In short, Herbstreit believes Notre Dame is “a lock” to reach the four-team playoff if the Irish prevail over Miami before running the table to finish 11-1.
Of course, Notre Dame finishing the remainder of its schedule unscathed is far from a given, especially given road trips to not only Miami but Stanford. Still, Herbstreit’s assertion is likely correct based on where Notre Dame already ranks and it certainly helps that the team’s only loss was by a (very) narrow margin against a top-flight team in Georgia.
Many people are still adjusting to Notre Dame being back in the title conversation but, on the field this year, Brian Kelly’s team has been quite impressive. Now, we will see if they can hold serve down the stretch in what is not exactly the easiest remaining schedule you will ever see.