Despite the protestations of a number of high-profile coaches around the college football world, it doesn't seem like the College Football Playoff is going to force Notre Dame into joining a conference.
Some coaches may want Notre Dame in a league but Bill Hancock says @CFBPlayoff won’t require it: "they’re in same boat as everyone else"— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 30, 2015
Coaches from the ACC, SEC, and Pac-12 have all chimed in about how Notre Dame's status as an independent is problematic, and that they should have to join a conference just like everybody else or play a 13th game. They don't make the rules, though, which is good because this is a silly argument that needs to go away.
There was no uproar about the Irish making it to the BCS Championship Game back in 2012 other than from UCF's George O'Leary, for some reason, so I'm not sure why people got so worked up about it the summer after they went 8-5. Usually in the college football world, we wait until after something dumb happens to make a giant stink about it and then possibly change the rule, so this doesn't make a ton of sense.
Notre Dame don't have a special arrangement with the College Football Playoff like it did with the BCS. If Notre Dame ends the season ranked fourth or higher, it makes the field, just like any other team. If it is fifth or lower, it's out, just like any other team. It may certainly help a team's cause, but playing in a conference title game isn't a requirement for the Playoff. Selection committee chair Jeff Long said Ohio State's performance in their 13th game was a factor in them jumping into the last Playoff spot ahead of the Big 12 teams, but maybe it wouldn't have been as much of a factor had it been a squeaker of a win instead of vaporizing Wisconsin by 59 points.
There are more than enough problems to go around in college football. We don't need to invent new ones to keep us busy.