Update: As it turns out, Kelly’s departure was used against Notre Dame in the latest CFP rankings.
And now Gary Barta says on ESPN that for the final rankings, their protocol does include considering "a player or a coach not being available."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 1, 2021
Hoo boy, Brian Kelly.
The Irish are ranked No. 6 in the latest poll, and will need a few results to go their way in championship games to make it into the playoff. The committee seems like it won’t be giving them the edge in a close call between two teams.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won’t be in action this weekend as college football conference championships take place across the country, but they’ll be keeping an eye out for prominent results to go their way. The Irish are in contention for a College Football Playoff spot, and are ranked No. 6 in the most recent release. Notre Dame also has to deal with the departure of long-time head coach Brian Kelly, who bolted for LSU. According to The Athletic’s Pete Sampson, Kelly’s exit meeting was quite brief.
Multiple sources indicated that Brian Kelly’s address to the team on Tuesday morning lasted less than two minutes, then he turned around and walked out. He did not take questions from the players.— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) November 30, 2021
The Irish have not named an interim head coach yet but they may be left with no choice. Kelly’s departure could have playoff implications for Notre Dame, as coaching availability is among the factors the committee uses when ranking teams.
Kelly has already made two CFP appearances in his time at Notre Dame, including a 2020 berth. The Irish would need some results to go their way this weekend but do have a legitimate chance to be in the field. However, none of the other schools involved in the conversation have coaching concerns. And if the Irish don’t name an interim, they’ll technically have no coach in the eyes of the committee.