Pinkel: No way Notre Dame should be allowed into playoff

Missouri's Gary Pinkel thinks Notre Dame should join a conference.

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Pinkel must be loved in South Bend today.

LOVED, I tell you.

The Missouri head coach stirred things up by telling ESPN that he doesn’t think Notre Dame, or any other independent program, should even be considered for the College Football Playoff since they aren’t in a conference.

Pinkel believes, with five "power" conferences and only four available playoff spots, that league champions should be rewarded with the opportunity to play for a national title.

Hey, that’s his opinion, but that’s not the mission of the CFP committee, which is strictly to pick the best four teams in the country.

What also goes unmentioned is that Notre Dame still plays a very challenging schedule despite being independent in football. It has a deal with the ACC that accounts for six games per season — this year the Irish play Virginia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Pitt, Wake Forest and Boston College — plus non-conference games against USC, Stanford, Texas and Navy (UMass and Temple rounds out the full schedule). If the Irish run through that slate, they will have been tested.

Pinkel’s comments will fire up Notre Dame fans this year, in particular, because ND appears to be a legitimate playoff contender. My colleague Bruce Feldman, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if Notre Dame is a playoff team in 2015.

Teddy Mitrosilis works in content production at FOX Sports Digital. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis and email him at