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CFB Expert's Metric Has Notre Dame Ahead Of Alabama, Clemson

An extreme closeup of Brian Kelly wearing a Notre Dame hat and a head set.

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches his team play against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the game at Kenan Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Entering championship weekend, the top three of the College Football is pretty clear. Barring upsets, Alabama will be No. 1, Clemson will be No. 2, and unless the committee makes some wild change, undefeated Notre Dame football comes in at No. 3.

All three teams are undefeated, and it seems pretty fair overall, based on how the teams have looked.

Alabama has been a total wrecking ball this season. Clemson has been a bit more vulnerable, with close games against Texas A&M and Syracuse, but has come on strong. Notre Dame has been more shaky, more often than the other two, though that shouldn't take away from the accomplishment of going 12-0 against a Power Five-level schedule.

Notre Dame's opponents have performed quite well this year too, which helps.

ESPN contributor Phil Steele has a metric called "strength of wins," which has Notre Dame football at No. 1.

The stat is pretty simple: Steele calculates the total number of games won by every team that a given program has defeated.

For Notre Dame, that comes out to 66. Here is the breakdown:

Michigan - 10
Ball State - 4
Vanderbilt - 6
Wake Forest - 6
Stanford - 7
Virginia Tech - 5
Pitt - 7
Navy - 3
Northwestern - 8
Florida State - 5
Syracuse - 9
USC - 5

While Alabama has faced some rough teams in the non-conference and bottom of the SEC, and Clemson got a very down ACC, Notre Dame faced very few horrible teams.

Navy is surprisingly at the bottom of the list at just three wins, and Virginia Tech, Florida State, and USC are having historically down years. None are bowl eligible yet, though VT will try this weekend.

Throw in a great Michigan team, surprising nine-win Syracuse squad, and division champions in Northwestern and Pitt, and Notre Dame's 2018 schedule proved to have a strong middle.

Steele crunched the numbers for all 130 FBS schools. Clemson is No. 2 with 63 wins, Alabama finished No. 3 at 59. Georgia (58), Ohio State (57), and Oklahoma (54), the other three main College Football Playoff contenders, come in at Nos. 4, 5, and 7 respectively.

[Phil Steele]