It's time for Notre Dame football to join a conference

Dec 29, 2023; El Paso, TX, USA; Notre Dame football head coach Marcus Freeman and his team celebrate
Dec 29, 2023; El Paso, TX, USA; Notre Dame football head coach Marcus Freeman and his team celebrate / Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame football have to be thrilled about the expanded College Football Playoff this upcoming season because it allows for the Irish to lose a game or two and not be completely punished for not making a conference title game.

The debate about whether or not Notre Dame should surrender independent status and finally join a league seemed to have been put to bed with this expansion of the field.

That was until Tuesday when some playoff selection rules were revealed.

According to the new playoff structure, the top four seeds will go to the four major conference champions. So the highest that Notre Dame could be seeded in the playoff would be No. 5 and that's even if the Irish were No. 1 in the country heading into the postseason.

This seems like a horrible draw for the Irish considering that they could be the nation's No. 1 team and still have to play an extra game while the top four conference champions would earn that coveted bye and they'd have to win four straight to win it all instead of just three in a row.

All of that basically leads to one conclusion: Notre Dame needs to join a conference.

I get it, the Irish like to march to the beat of their own drum and they don't like to be tied down to one conference but it just doesn't make sense to be independent at this point. It's just making Notre Dame's potential road to a national title that much more difficult.

Sure, if they joined a conference, the Irish would have to win the league in order to get a top four seed, but the absolute best they can do right now is No. 5. What's better, a shot at a top-four seed and a bye or maybe getting the No. 5 seed at the very best?

This new structure pretty much makes it obvious that Notre Dame football needs to join a conference and whether that's the ACC or Big Ten could be completely up to them.

It's time.

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