There’s another twist in last week’s crazy college football coaching carousel.
Brian Kelly stunned Notre Dame – and the rest of the country – when he bolted to university to take a coaching job at LSU, where Ed Orgeron left. The Irish have completed their regular season schedule and it is not entirely normal for a coach to leave before the bowl game, but the team is still in the playoff picture. Notre Dame sits at 11-1 when it exits Monday night and ranks sixth in the CFP poll.
The Irish were ranked 6th in Tuesday’s vote, though their chances of winning the title were dim. CFP President Gary Barta hinted that Kelly’s departure could have an impact on the final poll when the playoff spots were determined – a final nail in the coffin for the departing coach.
“It didn’t apply this week because the games happened and we evaluated the basis of those games,” Barta said, For Yahoo Sports. “Once the championship games are over… the protocol committee has the ability to consider whether a player or coach is unavailable. If that is the outcome of the game, consider it.
Oklahoma State has jumped the Irish in recent rankings, which makes plenty of sense on its own – he is a former No. 1 overall pick. 10 defeated Oklahoma, but Notre Dame defeated Stanford, which was not ranked. But even if Kelly’s former team didn’t play on Sunday, theoretically they still have a way to jump into the top four.
Each team on top of them in the rankings will play this weekend. Although No. 1 Georgia appears safe, losing to Michigan, Alabama (playing Georgia) or Cincinnati could theoretically eliminate them from the playoffs. Oklahoma State also plays on Saturday, and if two or more teams lose, the Irish can potentially be considered for the tournament.
But are they? Barta stopped to say anything specific about how the situation would play out for Notre Dame if the opportunity arose. Still, it will be a fascinating weekend for the Irish – even if they haven’t played the game.
It is unclear who will be the team’s interim coach for a playoff or bowl game.