Fact or Fiction: Notre Dame is a winner in 12-team playoff format
In today’s Fact or Fiction, I look at three big recent topics in college football and decide whether the statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.
FACT OR FICTION: A 12-team playoff is the best solution
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1. Missouri’s double dip into the Tulsa backfield will be key.
FARRELL'S TAKE: FACT. Tulsa transfer defensive back Akalyeb Evans was considered the big prize from the Group of Five program but the addition of Allie Green as well will make the Missouri secondary much better. Green, who is expected to announce soon for Missouri, is a big and physical player who can fit in at strong safety or cornerback and is known for his tackling ability. He was one of 12 Jim Thorpe finalists last season as the nation’s best defensive backs.
While Evans, who is a tall and more natural lockdown corner, got more attention out of the portal the feeling is that the talent and potential of both is equal. And they will be coached by their former Tulsa defensive backs coach Aaron Fletcher, who led the charge in recruiting here for Mizzou.
2. Tyreke Johnson will be key to the Nebraska secondary.
FARRELL'S TAKE: FACT. People are critical of Tyreke Johnson, the former five-star out of Jacksonville who transferred out of Ohio State, but he has talent. Let’s remember that, despite his average size, we had him as a safety coming out of high school because of his willingness to tackle, nose for the ball and ability to read offenses. But he can also play cornerback and he adds to a pretty solid unit for Nebraska.
From 2018 to 2020, the Huskers lost six defensive backs to the portal so getting one back is great and he will push opposite Cam Taylor-Britt for a starting job immediately. At worse, Johnson will be a nickel guy and provide depth to a unit that suddenly should have something to prove in 2021.
3. Notre Dame is fine with not being eligible for a bye in the new playoff format.
FARRELL'S TAKE: FACT. Jack Swarbrick was a major player in the first proposal of a 12-team playoff scenario this past week and the Notre Dame athletic director was present when he and three others discussed shutting the Fighting Irish out for any possibility of a bye. By allotting the four highest-ranked conference winners a bye, Notre Dame has no chance at that advantage. But what the program does get as an independent is the fact that the Irish aren’t locked into a conference schedule, they will likely be able to host a playoff game in December if they are one of the higher at-large seeds. They can still be selected as a three-loss team which would be unlikely if they finished third or worse in a Power Five conference.
Notre Dame should now slide into the Nos. 5-12 seed area easier than ever as an independent rather than risk the grind of a conference schedule. Yes, the Irish ran through a weak ACC conference last year but they did benefit from an injury to Trevor Lawrence and a lot of 2020 player opt-outs in the conference. As an independent they essentially chart their own path to the playoff without relying on the cyclical nature of a conference.