Notre Dame’s lack of full ACC conference affiliation has finished off their playoff hopes in 2017.

The ACC doesn’t need Notre Dame to join as full football member any longer. The conference doesn’t needed Notre Dame football to start a network, or to build the conference’s SOS. The ACC is firmly established as one of the premier football conferences in the country. They 5 game Notre Dame\ACC schedule works out well for everyone. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice if they just went ahead and joined as a full member, and the ACC expanded to 16 teams.

There isn’t enough money available in college athletics to get Notre Dame to join a conference or else they would have joined the Big 10 years ago. Notre Dame is now tied to the ACC, and if they ever joined a conference as a full member it would be the ACC. I believe the only way Notre Dame would ever consider joining the ACC as a full member is if their football program had a better chance to reach the playoffs as a conference than as an independent.

The latest college football playoff rankings have made it clear that time has come for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is the 2nd highest ranked 2 loss team at #8, and the consensus of the ESPN panel was that the Irish’s chances of reaching the playoffs are over. They would be correct too. 2 loss Auburn at #6 could still reach the playoffs. 2 loss #9 Ohio State is still, inexplicably,  given a chance to reach the playoffs. Even 2 loss USC at #11 was mentioned as having at least a remote chance. Guess who didn’t get mentioned as having a playoff shot? Notre Dame, the only team of these we just talked about that won’t play in conference championship game.

If Notre Dame values their independence more than playoff opportunities for their football team so be it, but if I’m Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly I’m taking note and talking to my AD. I’m telling Irish AD Jack Swarbrick that I just watched the playoff show and three two losses teams have a better chance to reach the playoffs than I do.

The playoff committee doesn’t have to say anymore. If you aren’t in a conference, your playoff opportunities are more limited. If this doesn’t motivate Notre Dame to eventually join the ACC as a full member then nothing will.

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