Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 10, 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI T his October was quite a month for conspiracy theorists regarding Notre Dame football. First, on Oct. 18 the controversial 31‑27 loss at No. 2 Florida State in the closing seconds be‑ came evidence that the ACC officiating crew has it out for the new part‑time f o o t b a l l m e m b e r. It's part of strong‑ arming them to be‑ come "all in" rather than maintaining its independence from the "Power Five" leagues. Then on Oct. 28, the first rankings ever re‑ leased by the 12‑per‑ son College Football P l a y o ff s e l e c t i o n committee appeared to evoke the most surprise among the sport's followers and analysts. The Fighting Irish had the largest disparity between where they were ranked in the Associated Press poll (No. 6) and by the College Football Playoff rankings (No. 10), at least among the top 20. Even coaches — from former ones such as Texas' Mack Brown to current ones such as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops — expressed how their greatest surprise was Notre Dame's low ranking. For his part, Irish head coach Brian Kelly made all the correct statements, which he has been used to in recent months. "Anybody that is on that com‑ mittee is entitled to their opinions about how they formulate them, but this is a fluid situation," Kelly s a i d t w o d a y s prior to the Navy game on Nov. 1. "The schedule will continue to unfold. Games will look differently in four or five weeks than they do right now. "It's great for college football that there is so much talk about it, but that's all it is. … It generates a lot of talk about college football, and I'm in college football, so I think that's great." It seems every summer the annual mantra is the same: "Notre Dame's schedule looks too difficult." Then in the fall, if Notre Dame hap‑ pens to excel, suddenly the problem is that its schedule is not strong enough. It goes back to 1986‑96 Fighting Irish head coach Lou Holtz's premise: "The schedule wouldn't look so difficult if we New Playoff Poll Creates Instant Buzz Notre Dame's "impressive" loss at No. 2 Florida State was nullified in the first College Football Playoff poll because of no marquee wins. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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