Notre Dame Increases Playoff Odds with Another Survive and Advance Victory

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In mid-October 2015, then Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer described the mantra of that Fighting Irish team. After beating Navy to go to 5-1, he said his team was “sort of in March Madness mode.” 

That team would go on to win five in a row, before dropping their last two and falling out of college football playoff contention. The current team survived-and-advanced today by beating Vanderbilt 22-17, squeaking by a team that took them down to the final minute. Survive-and-advance is how you reach the playoff, and every week that Notre Dame does, their odds get better.

Entering the day, if you wanted to bet on national championship odds, with a Dunder Promotion Code, you would have the seen the Irish having the seventh most favorable odds. However, Wisconsin, the team right above them with the sixth most favorable odds, fell to unranked BYU today.

Auburn, the team with the fifth best odds, who also happen to be ranked #7 (right ahead of Notre Dame) in the AP poll, fell to LSU today, so look for the Irish to leapfrog them as well. The favorite is of course Alabama and they have certainly played like it thus far. Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State are all right up there too, being backed favorably by Vegas, and thus far they have all looked the part.

Of course, it’s a long long road to college football’s final four as the season is only three weeks old at this point. However, every week the Irish win, no matter the margin of victory, they are moving up the ladder while other playoff contenders are losing and thus dropping out of contention.

brandon wimbush

Auburn and Wisconsin are two examples, just today, and they provide an opening for Notre Dame to keep ascending up the college football mountain. The schedule is going to get tougher, and Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly knows his team needs to get better in order to meet the challenge. As the Irish blessing states: “may the road rise up to meet you.”

“We’re still evolving. I mean, I’d like to say we’re a finished product, we’re just not. I mean, we’re trying to find our identity on offense,” Kelly said after his team won despite being out-gained by 40 yards.

“I think we’re a good defense. We’re not a great defense yet. We’ve got some things to clean up, but, boy, I really, really like our football team and the way they competed today.”

“Now, we’ve got to do that each and every week, right?”

The schedule is now going to get much tougher, and I’ll guess we’ll see if the Irish step their game up when a trip to Wake Forest is followed up a by home tilt with #9 Stanford and then a road game at #13 Virginia tech.

brian kelly notre dame

Skip Desjardin, a Notre Dame alum and long tine television media veteran who previously worked for ESPN

“The schedule gets tougher in the second half and I must confess I get nervous every I time see brandon Wimbush throw up one of these balls into double and triple coverage,” said Desjardin, who just released a new book entitled September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series.

“It’s worked out, especially in the Michigan game, but I have this fear lingering in the back of my head that one of these times one of those balls that goes up for grabs is going to get intercepted and going to lead to a critical loss that’s going to hurt their playoff chances.”

Wimbush was 13-23 passing today for just 122 yards, and that amounts to a poor 5.3 yards per attempt. He did have 84 yards rushing and a touchdown though.

september 1918

Wimbush echoed Kelly’s sentiment about the offensive unit.

“I think we’re still forming that identity,” the QB said. “Coach Kelly came up to me and said, you know, week three is the time that you kind of form that identity, and I think just looking back on the first three weeks, I don’t think there’s something we can kind of hang our hat on yet.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.

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