The road to the College Football Playoff could get a lot less murky this weekend according to Kirk Herbstreit. The ESPN analyst says that if Notre Dame loses this weekend to Clemson, they can kiss their championship hopes goodbye.

In what could be a statement game for Clemson against Notre Dame this weekend, a loss by the Fighting Irish is likely to knock them out of contention for the playoffs. Notre Dame, at 6-0, is ranked fourth in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. They are not receiving any first place votes in either poll.

Clemson, despite the expected absence of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, is favored in the game.

“If they lose, and they get blown out, it’s an elimination game for me. They’re gone. That’s my opinion, and I guess I’m assuming if they get blown out that they won’t go to Charlotte beat Clemson there,” Herbstreit said on ESPN this week.

“How Notre Dame looks on this big of a stage is a big deal to their perception because if they get blown out, they’re going to get behind a lot of teams. They’re going to be fighting to get into that No. 4 spot.”

While a Notre Dame loss could be catastrophic for their own playoff hopes, it could potentially open the door for a one-loss team from the SEC or potentially the Big Ten to sneak into the playoff.

As things currently stand, Clemson and Alabama are both trending towards the four-team playoff as is Ohio State. With the Pac-12 yet to play and the Big XII a bit muddled, there is a pathway towards a second team from either the SEC or the Big Ten sneaking into the playoffs.

Georgia could well be that team as they sit at 4-1 and fifth in both polls. But a team like Wisconsin, 1-0 and No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the Coaches Poll, could be a riser should a couple of the SEC teams such as Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida get bloodied a bit over the next few weeks.

Of course, BYU and Cincinnati might have something to say about this at the end of the day.