The Weekender: No Bye for the Irish, Michigan Bans the Color Red, and More Problems for the Sooners

By 11W Staff on June 13, 2021 at 2:35 pm
There will be no CFP bye for Brian Kelly and the Irish.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Own the group chat with The Weekender, highlighting the biggest stories in college sports, standout writing from Eleven Warriors, and a glance at what's next.

No CFP Bye For Notre Dame 

The College Football Playoff management committee announced that the working group considering options for playoff expansion has formally recommended expanding the playoff to 12 teams. Obviously, people have some thoughts on this as it's been a controversial topic for several years now. 

Under the new proposed format, the first six berths would go to the highest-ranked conference champions – guaranteeing at least one Group of 5 team will make the field, though not giving automatic berths to all five Power 5 champions – while the other six berths would go to the highest-ranked at-large teams in the final CFP standings.

Notre Dame has made the playoff twice since its inception (2018 and 2020), and one of the first questions to come up regarding the new format is what will it mean for a team that's not currently in a conference? 

I suppose there can always be a positive spin on these things, but the bottom line is this: if the new proposal is approved, Notre Dame could go undefeated in 2023 – which would include wins over USC, Clemson, and yes even Ohio State – and it still would not earn a by in the playoff. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick explained why this isn't the worst thing in the world for the Irish:

Perhaps none of this really matters for the Irish. In the team's two playoff appearances, it has scored 17 total points and never really came close to a victory. The Irish fell to Clemson 30-3 in January of 2019. This past season, the Tide topped Notre Dame by a score of 31-14.

UM Bans the Color Red, Proceeds to Allow Red 

Michigan is finally taking things seriously, folks. It's been nearly a decade since the Wolverines have beaten the Buckeyes. How can things be fixed? Better coaching? Better recruiting? Better player development? Nah. Instead, Jim Harbaugh has decided to ban the color red from the program's facilities. 

We're in the midst of the biggest recruiting month in college football history. Banning a color is SURELY going to show some of the nation's top prospects how important the rivalry is to your program. It took less than 24 hours for someone to infiltrate the Big House while donning a pair of beautiful red shoes. 

There will be plenty of scarlet inside Michigan Stadium on Nov. 27 when the Buckeyes head to town. As of today, Ohio State is listed as a 13.5-point favorite by the folks at the BetMGM Sportsbook. 

More Trouble for the Sooners 

Oklahoma is once again a favorite to make the playoffs and perhaps even win the national title. Alex Grinch is starting to turn things around on defense, and Spencer Rattler is the Heisman frontrunner at quarterback. Over the last few months, things haven't been going so well down in Norman. 

In May, it was announced that running back Seth McGowan and wideout Trejan Bridges were no longer on the team. This came after the two players were accused of robbing, beating, and threatening to kill a man. Law enforcement also found a handgun and marijuana in Bridges' apartment. McGowan rushed for 370 yards and three scores as a freshman in 2020 and was expected to be a major contributor this season. 

Things have gotten worse for Lincoln Riley. Over the weekend, defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas was arrested and booked for failing to appear on a petty larceny charge. Thomas emerged as one of the Sooners' best players in 2020 and was listed as one of the country's most disruptive pass rushers. 

Oklahoma opens the season against Tulane and Western Carolina. We'll see if the most recent bout with the law results in any sort of suspensions. The Sooners square off against the Cornhuskers in week three.

Kool Times in Tuscaloosa 

Alabama landing five-star defenders is not a rare occurrence. So it wasn't a surprise when the Tide signed Ga'Quincy McKinstry for the 2021 recruiting cycle. Listed as the No. 1 cornerback in the country, he's a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Pinson, Alabama. We'll probably be hearing McKinstry's name a lot over the next few years, but....

Kool-Aid season is officially upon us. Does this really matter in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely not. But props to Alabama for getting a bit creative on its official roster



Brian Hartline has the country's best wide receiver room. His 2022 class got even better this week with the addition of four-star Ilinois wideout Kaleb Brown. The icing on the cake with this latest addition? Brown was one of Michigan's top targets at the position.  


Ramzy Nasrallah looks at the timing of the CFP semifinal games, its impact on television ratings, and how the CFP is struggling to learn from past scheduling errors. 


Several current Buckeyes were tasked with identifying players from the past. It went alright for some. Others had their share of struggles.


Ohio State's defensive line coach handles the recruiting process a bit differently. With the dead period over, Larry Johnson has finally been able to get his hands on some 2022 prospects. His recruiting board is finally starting to take shape.

Up Next

  • Friday-Saturday, August 27-28: Ohio State's Women's Volleyball team will participate in the Sports Imports Classic at Nationwide Arena.
  • Thursday, Sept. 2: Ohio State football opens its 2021 season at Minnesota
  • Saturday, Sept. 11: Ohio State football hosts Oregon in its 2021 home opener
  • Saturday, Nov. 27: Ohio State plays Michigan in The Game
  • Saturday, Dec. 4: The Big Ten Championship Game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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