Notre Dame football is an AQ of sorts in the 14-team CFP

The biggest concern over the 14-team College Football Playoff format was that Notre Dame football would be left out.

Notre Dame football players take the field before facing Oregon State at the 90th Annual Sun Bowl
Notre Dame football players take the field before facing Oregon State at the 90th Annual Sun Bowl / GABY VELASQUEZ/ EL PASO TIMES / USA
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Just when you were getting familiar with the 12-team college football playoffs format (a format that is perfectly friendly to Notre Dame football) there's a new format coming down the pike. This expanded version of the expander version of the playoffs is likely here by 2025.

It took years for the NCAA to go from 4 to 12 playoff teams. It actually took quite a bit of pushing from certain people. And now, change is apparently coming fast and furiously.

The big question about any change like this for Notre Dame fans is always "are we in trouble?" And the first reactions to how the 14-team format was being laid out was "yes probably." But it turns out there may not be as much to worry about as first thought.

According to Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports, Notre Dame football has a place cut out for it. As long as the Fighting Irish fulfills one small requirement. That they finish in the Top 14 rankings. That's an expectation that any Irish fans should be ok with.

From Dellenger's article:

"Notre Dame, as an independent, would be guaranteed one of the three at-large spots if it finished in the top 14 of the CFP’s rankings."

Notre Dame football gets conference-like protection

In essence, by guaranteeing that the Irish are in the playoffs as long as they're not particularly bad, they're getting treatment somewhat similar to what the Big 10 and SEC are getting.

Notre Dame football can lose a game and still finish in the Top 14. Depending on how tough the rest of their schedule is throughout the year. It actually doesn't feel like it would need to be that tough to be ranked in the Top 14 at 10-2.

The drawback here is that it's unlikely Notre Dame football would be a very high seed. But it appears there is at least a kind of automatic qualifier cutout for the Irish should this format come to pass. And it looks like it will.