In the King’s Decree, I advocate for five super conferences and an 8-team playoff comprised of the five conference champions and the next three highest ranked teams. It could be argued that Notre Dame should be placed in the Northern Super Conference (NSC), and I certainly considered this, long and hard as a matter of fact. However, in the end, I decided the rivalries Notre Dame has with USC and others are more important to college football than other considerations. Placing Notre Dame in the NSC would effectively end most of these rivalries. So, by the king’s decree, in order to maintain independent status, Notre Dame must play the same six rivalries every year and then play any six teams of its choosing to fill out its 12-game schedule.
In order to compete in the 8-team playoff for the national championship, Notre Dame would have to finish the season among the next three highest ranked teams beside the five conference champions. That would be no easy task. Consider that an 8-4 division winner can knock off an 11-1 division winner to claim a conference championship and a spot in the playoff. That 11-1 team would still be in a position to potentially claim a playoff spot based on rank. Keep in mind, this is the same path available to any team outside the five super conferences. Of course, this would dictate such teams schedule and defeat some super conference heavy weights in order to increase their strength of schedule.
If for some reason Notre Dame were to become unhappy with this arrangement and wanted to be in a conference, there would be two options. The best option would be for Notre Dame to replace Cincinatti (with apologies to the Bearcats) in the NSC East division. The other option would be for Notre Dame to replace Connecticut in the ESC North division. Of course , Notre Dame would have to compensate one of these two schools to essentially buy a spot in one of these super conferences.