Former Alabama OL: Notre Dame Not A Top-Four Team

Clemson mauled Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. Barrett Jones was not surprised.

Zach Gelb
December 31, 2018 - 11:58 am

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After finishing the regular season 12-0, Notre Dame qualified for the College Football Playoff, truly believing it could win a national title.

Then Clemson happened.

The Cotton Bowl was tied 3-3 after the first quarter Saturday. Then Clemson scored 27 unanswered points to win 30-3 and hand Notre Dame another tough loss on the national stage.

What happened? Were the Fighting Irish not as good as people thought?

“Well look, I don’t want to be over-critical on Notre Dame,” former Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I think the Notre Dame hype machine is extremely powerful out there. There’s a lot of people who absolutely love Notre Dame, and that’s fine. But all I heard from the pro-Notre Dame people was, ‘Hey, this is a way different team than 2012. This is an athletic team who can run with anybody.’ I also heard this is a way different team than the team that almost lost to Vanderbilt earlier in the season.”

In the end, it was neither. In 2012, Notre Dame trailed Alabama 35-0 in the national championship game and ultimately lost 42-14. Jones was a member of that Alabama team.

He doesn’t think a whole lot has changed since then.

“Did they deserve to be in the playoffs?” he asked. “We can get in this 20-minute argument about is it most deserving or is it four best? I certainly don’t think they’re one of the best four teams in the country. Anybody who watched them and watched Georgia in the SEC Championship cannot tell me with a straight face that they’re a better team. Now, are they deserving to be in the playoff? They won all their games. That’s a whole other argument. 

“But I found (the result) not surprising at all,” Jones continued. “Notre Dame just didn’t have the athletes to run with a team like Clemson. Clemson almost could sleep-walk through that game and still win by a significant margin. It was the same old Notre Dame. Nothing is going to change.”