Heisman Watch and will Notre Dame crack first playoff rankings?

Heisman Watch and will Notre Dame crack first playoff rankings?

"If you look, there's a bunch of one-loss teams out there".

CBS Sports analyst Dennis Dodd believes Notre Dame deserves to be one of those four teams with the inside track to the Playoff.

Ohio State's 39-38 win over Penn State on Saturday didn't just have Big Ten East division ramifications. Asked if thinks team still has a chance, Barkley had a short reply of, "Yes sir". The Notre Dame offensive line, meanwhile, paved the way for the team to rush for 318 yards against a defense that entered the matchup ranked sixth in the country against the run.

Penn State is close behind at 24th and 13th, but the Nittany Lions' signature victory, a home dismantling of MI, doesn't match what Notre Dame and Clemson have accomplished.

That's 11 teams for two spots, an even dozen if you'd like to include twice-beaten Iowa State, which, oh by the way, defeated Oklahoma and TCU.

In the AP Top 25, the rest of the top 10 teams are Notre Dame, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Miami, and TCU (in that order). The chaos means both the Pac-12 and Big 12 have a shot at the playoff despite not having a ideal team through nine weeks, while the SEC can dream about getting both Alabama and Georgia in.

Dodd writes: "If the playoff started today, Notre Dame would definitely have to be in it".

The brand name of Notre Dame could push the Irish ahead of Penn State, but the 13-member group could give the Nittany Lions an edge after regretting leaving Penn State out of last year's playoff despite its Big Ten title in favor of Ohio State. The biggest mover - as was the case in Sunday's Amway Coaches Poll - was Iowa State, who rocked their way to No. 14 (up from No. 25) on the strength of their upset of TCU on Saturday.

The human element could yet again weigh heavily when considering defending national champion Clemson.

Though the Southeastern Conference lacks depth, undefeated Alabama and Georgia merit their 1-2 status.

Regardless of what factors the committee may value most, in losing to Ohio State, Penn State lost the ability to control its own destiny. "The only thing we can control now is how we approach the rest of the year".

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