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Playoff Chairman Makes Revealing Comment About Notre Dame’s Status

Notre Dame football players running onto the field.

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leads his team onto the field before taking on the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 37-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Notre Dame football is undefeated, and very well may finish the season at 12-0 after this weekend's trip to struggling USC.

That doesn't mean the Fighting Irish are in the same class as fellow undefeated Power Five programs Alabama or Clemson, though, at least in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee.

Once again, Notre Dame came in at No. 3 in this week's CFP rankings, after wrecking then-No. 12 Syracuse on Saturday. It seems like that may be the ceiling for the Fighting Irish.

College Football Playoff committee chair Rob Mullens discussed Notre Dame football's position after Tuesday's rankings release.

The Oregon athletic director had some interesting things to say about the Irish. Notably, he says the team is closer to No. 4 Michigan, which Notre Dame beat head-to-head, and No. 5 Georgia than it is to the Crimson Tide and Tigers.

From Pete Sampson of The Athletic:

There isn't a huge difference between being No. 2 and No. 3. If things are chalk from here on out, it seems like Notre Dame is in for a date with Clemson, whether or not the Fighting Irish jump the Tigers.

The bigger concern may be the possibility that Michigan looks awesome in games against Ohio State and Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship.

Mullens does say that the head-to-head win over Michigan has an impact, but the Wolverines have the chance to pick up an extra data point, and the Ohio State game could carry a ton of weight.

Notre Dame definitely wants to avoid a meeting with Alabama until the national championship game, if it can help it.