For a little different perspective, my good friend and classmate Justin wanted to provide his insights on the prospects of the Irish playing in a National Championship game - here is his response:
I don't think we need all of the aforementioned to happen.
1. We need Florida and Louisville to lose.
Although FSU sucks this season, they have a legitimate shot at beating UF. UF
lost their best defensive player this week due to suspension, FSU has replaced
their QB (the replacement just killed UVa), and they are playing in
I’m not sold on Louisville. They will lose either to Rutgers, USF, or
2. We need USC to beat Oregon & Cal.
3. We need Michigan to beat OSU.
This leaves Michigan, Texas, Auburn, USC, and ND.
Michigan: NC game
Texas: UT finishes out pretty weak. Yes, they have A & M and the Big 12
championship game, but it's quite likely that they won't be playing a ranked
team here on out. Hence, they’ll be finishing the season on a low note.
Auburn: Very similar to UT. Auburn isn't playing in the SEC championship game,
as Arkansas has the SEC West pretty much wrapped up. So, similar to UT, they
finish the season w/o playing a ranked team, w/o much fanfare.
USC: See ND.
ND: If Michigan beats OSU, and USC beats Cal and Oregon, it sets up a big
showdown between SC and ND on Nov. 25. If we beat SC soundly – especially
considering that this is THE GAME of a holiday weekend – we finish on a very
The voters at the end of the season face a dilemma: Texas, Auburn, or ND.
Texas gets love from the USA Today poll. ND gets love from the Computer &
Harris. Auburn, not playing in the SEC championship game, gets little backing
from anyone (or anything). There is no way to project what the Harris and
Computer Poll will look like at the end, so little is gained by discussing
whether Texas or ND gets in over each other. That said, we will have a much
stronger SOS than Texas, have our only loss coming from the team playing in the
NC game, and will be finishing the season on a high note, in front of a large
audience. This could set up a perfect scenario for ND.
I know the abovementioned neglects a scenario where a one loss Arkansas wins the
SEC championship, or Rutgers finishes the season undefeated, but I just can’t
see either jumping ND if the “Fantasy Projections” work out. Maybe I’m naïve.