Let’s get it back to college football:

Not like Notre Dame is ever gonna finish as the top team in the country. No amount of Northeast Philadelphia calf tattoos will make that a reality.

On the surface, however, this is not “brutal.” ND sits on the committee and actually agreed to this new format a few years ago.

Look at it this way:

The conference winners will have had to play 12 games + a championship game. Notre Dame plays 12. So you’re looking at 13+bye+3 for the former and 12 + 4 for the latter. To win a title, they’d have to play the same amount of total games, just structured differently.

Would you rather play:

  • Alabama’s schedule, with 12 games, then have to beat Georgia on a neutral field?
  • or Notre Dame’s schedule, bye, then four playoff games instead?

Think about it for a minute. The ND path might be preferable. And even though they can’t be ranked higher than #5, the field expansion makes it easier for them to get into the playoff, since they’re typically hovering around the top 12.

Ross Dellenger at Yahoo explains the new format:

CFP leaders on Tuesday adopted a change to the 12-team expanded playoff model, moving to a “5+7” system that incorporates five automatic qualifying spots for the highest-ranked conference champions and seven at-large spots for the next highest-ranked teams. Officials scrapped the original proposal — 6+6 — after the latest realignment wave left the Pac-12 at two members, decreasing the AQ spots and increasing the at-large selections. The proposal received the necessary unanimous 11-0 support, ending a drama-filled last few weeks of pushback from the Pac-12.

This coming year, they’ll play three quarterfinals on New Year’s Day, and the other one on New Year’s Eve. There will be Thursday and Friday semifinals to avoid the NFL’s wild-card weekend, then the championship game is on January 20th.