Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel made it clear what he thought of Notre Dame and the playoff discussion. They need to join a conference to be in consideration. Apparently Pinkel is not alone on this stance.
Enter Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who echoed the belief Pinkel shared that suggested it is time for Notre Dame to join a conference. Swinney said if Notre Dame is to remain independent, then they should be playing a 13th game on the schedule.
Dabo Swinney agrees w/Gary Pinkel: “Absolutely Notre Dame needs to be in conference or play 13 games to be in @CFBPlayoff“
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 27, 2015
Notre Dame is a partial member of the ACC, competing in the league in all sports except football and ice hockey. The Irish retain their football independence as part of the ACC agreement, but set aside a handful of games against ACC opponents every season on a rotating basis. Among Notre Dame’s rotating ACC opponents this season is Clemson, with the Fighting Irish traveling to Death Valley on October 3.
The importance of a 13th game was put on display last season with Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU each being left out of the College Football Playoff in favor of four conference champions that played a 13th game. Most notably, perhaps, was Ohio State jumping into the fourth and final spot after demolishing Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes, of course, went on to win the national championship, while Baylor and TCU were left to wonder “What if?”
The only way to play a 13th game in college football without having the luxury of a conference championship game is to schedule a road game at Hawaii. Teams that do that are allowed to schedule one additional home game on top of a traditional 12-game schedule to make up for travel expenses.
I’m getting to the point where I just want Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly to start dropping names of programs and saying they need to go independent, just to mix things up.