No free passes: Notre Dame will not qualify for a bye in proposed College Football Playoff format
Not playing in a conference will hurt Notre Dame’s ability to earn a bye in the proposed 12-team College Football Playoff field. School athletic director Jack Swarbrick confirmed that news on Thursday.
The College Football Playoff released a statement on Thursday, confirming that the expansion working group had officially recommended expanding the field from four teams to 12 in the near future. The layout would include the six highest-ranked conference champions earning an automatic bid and six at-large bid.
The four highest-ranked conference champions would receive a first-round bye opportunity. Since Notre Dame is still not joining a conference, the Fighting Irish would not qualify for an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.
“I look forward to never hearing how we played one less game or never had a conference championship,” Swarbrick said on Thursday after confirming that Notre Dame would not qualify for a bye.
In 2020, Notre Dame joined the ACC for a one-year deal to move forward with the college football season. It was a unique circumstance presented by COVID-19 that allowed the Fighting Irish to compete in the season and had the conference get two teams into the College Football Playoff.
However, Notre Dame dropped back to Independent following the conclusion of the 2020 season.