Playing Football While Being Notre Dame

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 7th, 2018 at 6:45 PM

Bill Connelly's Strength of Resume supports the assertion that Michigan has the strongest record thus far of the one-loss teams, with Georgia and Oklahoma right behind. Connelly's Strength of Resume basically evaluates a team's past record by comparing the actual scoring margins in all of its games to that of a hypothetical average top-5 team (i.e. with M at #3, M would be akin to your average top-5 team). So, most of the ratings are negative, since the vast majority of teams are rated well below the top-5 range. That said, M is only one of 3 teams with a positive rating - the other two being who you'd suspect: Alabama and Clemson. Alabama (a.k.a. the Death Star) BTW, is stunningly positive. Some other teams like Fresno State, Utah State and fancy-stats darling UCF also bubble up toward the top. Notre Dame, however, is noticeably absent from the top 10. In fact, the Fig-Things come in at #18, which suggests pretty strongly that their performance is rather underwhelming, against what amounts to weak competition. Yet, the pumped up profiles of the middleweight teams of the ACC that ND has beaten give the FigThings an artificial boost. It's remarkable that just about every rating system and a lot of people in the know (including Joel Klatt), put Michigan ahead of Notre Dame already, yet the CFP has yet to really take strength of resume in into consideration, and is simply giving ND a pass for ... being ND?



November 7th, 2018 at 6:49 PM ^

I equate ND to be like the MSU team from a few years ago that got curb stomped by Alabama. Can't justify leaving them out, but today's version of Bama, Clemson, UM, UGA, and OU would all smoke ND. 


November 7th, 2018 at 7:31 PM ^

I dont really care what fancy stats say. The only data point that should matter with two relatively equal teams is a head to head matchup, when there is one. We had our chance to erase Notre Dame from the playoff picture in week one, and couldn't seize the opportunity. I like our chances if we play them again, but the fact that they beat us in our only matchup thus far is enough to convince me that they should certainly be ranked ahead of us. 


November 7th, 2018 at 8:37 PM ^

My only issue with this is that it assumes that there is no improvement during a season or alternatively that it is impossible for one team to improve more than another. Michigan has improved phenomenally. I don't know that Notre Dame has improved phenomenally. Do you ignore their entire body of work since the first night of the season? Notre Dame squeak past a questionable Michigan team in the first week of the season and doesn't have another good win. Michigan just curb stomped a number 15 Penn State.


November 8th, 2018 at 4:35 AM ^

Michigan would beat ND soundly.  I keep saying, if there is a way for Michigan to play ND in playoff, please make it happen. If anyone thinks that first quarter from September would not be different you are mistaken. Michigan is still ascending and ND is flat lining.  ND is a very good team. Michigan is bordering on greatness. If the M offense can play the first half like they do most of the second, you have a GREAT team. The Michigan offense shows signs of greatness. Just needs to be more consistent.  Finshish more drives on opponents side of field. If Michigan gets rolling on offense the next two games, I will feel very good about OSU game. One other benefit of Michigan playing ND in playoff, the final game would not have a chance being Bama vs Clemson, it would be Bama/Clemson vs ND or Michigan. That would be ratings gold. Bama/Clemson final is kind of worn out other than to those fans. 


November 7th, 2018 at 7:24 PM ^

So, one quality win is all it takes?

Notre Dame didn't set out to have a garbage schedule -- except when they chose to sort-of-join the ACC.  However, they managed to have a garbage schedule anyway.  That needs to mean something, or we're going to have the complete and utter death of interesting non-conference games.


November 7th, 2018 at 7:35 PM ^

Clemson's best win is by 4 points over Syracuse. Notre Dame will have the chance to match that this weekend, and already has a win over us. If they win this weekend, are you going to argue that they should jump Clemson? Should we jump both Notre Dame and Clemson? 

Edit: Syracuse gets their shot at ND next weekend, not this weekend.  I've had that game circled as the one that ND will drop for a while and I'm getting a little ahead of myself. 


November 8th, 2018 at 7:16 AM ^

Oh, is that how it works?  I thought the thing people were arguing on here was that win/loss didn't matter.  In that case I amend my statement.   Notre Dame deserves to be ranked higher than us because they are 9-0 and we are 8-1 and they beat us head-to-head.  

I guarantee that if the situation were the exact opposite no one here would be arguing that ND should be ahead of M.


November 8th, 2018 at 12:04 AM ^

I gotta say, our Big Ten schedule is looking less and less impressive as the season goes on.  If OSU loses at MSU and we play a 4 or 5 loss NW in the Big Ten championship game, we're not exactly in a position to be calling NDs schedule "garbage".


November 7th, 2018 at 9:03 PM ^

The ACC, outside of Clemson, is a bad and grossly overrated P5 conference. However the AAC is at best a middling G5 conference. If you switch the schedules of Notre Dame and UCF, which would you put money on still being undefeated? 


November 7th, 2018 at 9:46 PM ^

Look, I agree, but this practice of ranking teams based upon a combination of conference affiliation and number of losses simply has to stop.

All you're doing is rewarding ND for playing a garbage schedule.

College football is better when there are more marquee out-of-conference games.  We should all be rewarding teams for playing tougher schedules, because it makes the game better, even if it means that a team gets into the playoff ahead of one they beat.

I fully believe Michigan is more deserving of a playoff spot at this point, because they have two wins, one of which was on the road, as opposed to Notre Dame's one win, which was at home.  I simply do not care about games against crap competition.

If all you care about is the fewest losses, then everyone should schedule like Washington State, and what fun is that?


November 7th, 2018 at 9:59 PM ^

Notre Dame scheduled a few college football bluebloods, and they just happened to suck this year. 

Any given year throughout the last 10 or so seasons, a schedule that includes Michigan, FSU, Va Tech, Stanford, NW, and USC is going to include 4 top 25 teams. I hate Notre Dame just as much as the next guy, but to say they're playing a garbage schedule is disingenuous.


November 8th, 2018 at 4:29 AM ^

Correct -- I said as much earlier.  They didn't set out planning this, the way that SEC teams do.  However, that's still the result.  If Notre Dame and its fans don't like being told that their schedule's soft, they should go ahead and join a conference.  If Notre Dame were going to play Clemson in the ACC title game, that would be a pretty good opportunity for them to pick up a second marquee win.

The more we look at quality wins instead of losses, the more we're setting out to reward teams for scheduling tough out-of-conference games instead of avoiding them.  I don't mean to ignore losses entirely -- OSU's loss to Purdue is deservedly painful.  But you need to look at the gestalt of the schedule, not merely the number of losses.


November 8th, 2018 at 3:33 AM ^

According to some on this very blog, at the outset of this season our schedule looked to have 4 guaranteed losses, if not 5. Same could be said for Notre Dame. Sometimes the good teams on your schedule end up sucking. To Hell with Notre Dame, and all, but theirs is hardly the weakest schedule amongst the top 10-15.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

November 7th, 2018 at 7:02 PM ^

 Except it doesn’t.  And if you listened closely to the committee chairman speaking yesterday, he left it open ended that Michigan could surpass Notre Dame - without them losing.  They do not play a conference championship. They are not courageous enough to do that. The number one criterion used by the CFP committee is championships won. Notre Dame does not win championships because they can’t. They would have to have the foresight and courage to join a conference to do that.  


November 7th, 2018 at 7:06 PM ^

Other than symbolism, what does beating a 7-5 Northwestern really prove?

The conference champion slant seems relevant only when considering a team that didn't win its own division. The conference championship itself is only as meaningful as the quality of the two division champions.

ND already proved they can beat Northwestern. I really don't think that should move the needle, at all.

Kinda Blue

November 8th, 2018 at 7:56 AM ^

It proves that ND can avoid playing Clemson in the ACC championship.  If their affiliation with the ACC were real, they would have to beat a superior team at the end of the schedule when fatigue and injuries are at their season's peak, like every other member of the playoff.

I think they should get the benefit of the doubt as a 12-0 team with an early head to head over us.  Not sure I would feel the same if the team we played in the conference championship was 12-0 or 11-1...then I'd want to see ND suffer a hit for dodging their own championship game.  But this year, they will have beaten the same NW team as the UM team the hold head to head advantage over.


November 7th, 2018 at 9:15 PM ^

Conference championships have nothing to do with courage. They are an additional money grab and an attention grab - a chance to sneak another team into the playoff or bowl picture. We Michigan and other Big Ten fans were making that solid argument for years, at least until the Big Ten went to a conference championship. Then we stopped saying it. But it's still true.

Notre Dame's insistence on independence in football reflects a lot of thing$, but lack courage is not one of them.



November 7th, 2018 at 7:16 PM ^

In general, it's not that simple even putting aside advanced stats because you cannot simply go about rankings teams by who beat whom because you end up with conflicting results. It's certainly not an uncommon experience to have three teams each play each other and all finish 1-1. So whose the best of those three?

That said, this situation is a bit simpler and I can't justify putting Michigan ahead of ND.


November 7th, 2018 at 7:33 PM ^

If there's a tie in their record, they haven't played, etc. great, use that data! But the whole point of playing football is to settle it on the field. You reward the victor. This isn't a computer algorithm designed to pick the optimal mix of stocks, it's a system to reward those who have earned a chance to play for the championship. It's not about who's better, it's about who deserves it.

Now if it's 1 loss ND vs 1 loss Michigan, forget everything I just said.