Notre Dame Football: Why Undeafted Season Won't Guarantee BCS Championship Game

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Notre Dame Football: Why Undeafted Season Won't Guarantee BCS Championship Game
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Notre Dame needs to close on Kansas State and look over their shoulder at Oregon.

The Notre Dame football program is on the cusp of a 12-0 season. Its prize will be be a major BCS game, but it won't be the BCS Championship Game.

If only the 2014 playoff format started in 2012.

Notre Dame's schedule is good enough to earn a team a trip to the national championship. The problem is the same can be said for its primary competitors, Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon.

The Fighting Irish still have four games remaining on their schedule, three of which shouldn't be much of a challenge. Their finale takes them on the road against the USC Trojans, a matchup I initially thought would go to the home team.

I also thought Notre Dame's chances at an undefeated season were gone in OT versus Stanford, but look how that turned out.

Still, after barely beating Stanford and BYU, wins over Oklahoma and USC seemed a lot less likely.

One down, one to go.

In part because I believe Notre Dame will beat USC, and partly for the sake of argument, let's concede a perfect season for the Irish. For similar reasons, let's assume the same for Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon.

Which two teams play for the title? Based on the final month of play, Alabama would likely face Kansas State.

Alabama making the title game is a foregone conclusion. The second spot isn't so easy to predict.

The Wildcats and the Irish are tied in the computer rankings with a composite percentage of .970 (full rankings below). Notre Dame's score will only decrease as it plays three underwhelming opponents in the coming weeks.

The Wildcats will face a pair of Top 25 teams in the next four games, while the Ducks could play four Top 25 teams in their last five games, including the Pac-12 Championship Game.

If all four teams end up undefeated, who should face Alabama?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Those games will keep Notre Dame from passing Kansas State and would be enough to push Oregon north in the computer rankings. An improved computer ranking score would likely push Oregon back ahead of Notre Dame in the final BCS rankings.

Kansas State and Oregon are ahead of the Irish in both polls (Harris poll and USA Today). There is little Notre Dame can do over the balance of the season to erase that deficit.

Should the college football season finish with these four unbeaten teams, the best Notre Dame could achieve is being part of a shared championship should Kansas State beat Alabama.

A split title would be fitting as the current BCS format dissolves. What it wouldn't be is equitable; two of these four teams will deserve better.

 

Current BCS Rankings

 

BCS

Harris Poll

USA Today

Computer Rankings

RK

TEAM

AVG

PVS

RK

%

RK

%

AVG

%

 

1

Alabama

.9759

1

1

.9976

1

1.0000

3

.930

 

2

Kansas State

.9400

3

3

.9238

3

.9261

1

.970

 

3

Notre Dame

.9147

5

4

.8880

4

.8861

1

.970

 

4

Oregon

.9136

4

2

.9478

2

.9431

5

.850

 

 

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.

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