The 128 Team Playoff, Day 119: Notre Dame vs. Utah

Photo courtesy of Notre Dame athletics


We’ve created a 130-team bracket using ESPN’s FPI as our ranking system.

“But, anyone can create a bracket, how will the games be simulated?” Great question; NCAA Game Sim was used.

For each game on the bracket, the matchup was simulated once and every day a write-up will be done.

For the matchup, player statistics will be simulated and included in the write-ups.

Finally, thanks to the NCAA Game Sim premium membership, we’ll show the results of doing 100 simulations all at once. This is to see if a given result was more towards the expected side or if a given result was more towards the upset or luckier side.

All of the results have been simulated and tabulated, so at the time of writing the introduction, the results are already in.

This is designed to be fun, so please enjoy.

From Georgia to Massachusetts, here’s the 130-team bracket:

Match 120

(1) Notre Dame vs. (2) Utah

How Notre Dame Got Here: 26-17 win over (16) Bowling Green, 38-31 win over (9) Marshall, 26-19 win over (5) Boise State

How Utah Got Here: 59-17 win over (15) Arkansas State, 70-31 win over (7) Washington State, 30-29 win over (6) North Carolina

This is the only region of 16 teams to be decided by a matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. Even though 55 points were scored, the defense was really the story of this one.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising never was able to settle in and find a reliable target. Three Ute receivers tied for the team lead with three receptions. Brant Kuithe led Utah in receiving yards with 37.

Rising finished 15-for-30 with 132 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan did not fare much better. Coan finished 23-for-35 with 198 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.

Wide receiver Braden Lenzy led the Fighting Irish with 81 yards on six catches, with all but one of those catches coming in the waning moments of the first half. Ultimately, Notre Dame would have to settle for a field goal on that drive.

The difference here was the ability to establish the run. Utah running back Tavion Thomas ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams ran for 66 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

A late Thomas touchdown tote takes the Utes to the Elite Eight and gives us a fun close to a region full of upsets and nail-biters. The Utes squeak it out, 31-24.

In 100 simulations, Utah won a staggering 87 of them by an average margin of 40.5-19.4. It’s hard to say why the simulator loves Utah so much more than Notre Dame, but this simulator does not seem to think this should be much of a contest in a larger sample.

Notre Dame’s loss means that all remaining teams are affiliated with a conference. Utah does remain the highest seeded team in the Pac-12, with No. 4 Oregon ensuring a Pac-12 team in the Final Four.

Winner’s Next Matchup: (4) Oregon

Tomorrow’s Matchup: (2) Cincinnati vs. (4) Tennessee

Updated Bracket

Teams Lost, In Order:


Massachusetts, Connecticut


Akron, New Mexico State, Florida International, Temple, New Mexico, Bowling Green, Rice, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Arkansas State, Charlotte, Southern Mississippi, Ohio, Kansas, Duke, UNLV, Georgia Southern, UTEP, South Alabama, San Jose State, South Florida, Arizona, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech, Ball State, Minnesota, Navy, Nebraska, Buffalo, Troy, Colorado State, North Texas, Eastern Michigan, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Florida Atlantic, Stanford, Tulane, Colorado, Wyoming, Middle Tennessee, Rutgers, Miami University, Indiana, Louisville, Georgia Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Central Michigan, Missouri, Syracuse, Tulsa, Western Michigan, Utah State, Liberty, UTSA, Boston College, Nevada, South Carolina, Army, Washington, Air Force, Virginia Tech


Toledo, Alabama, Illinois, TCU, UAB, Marshall, USC, San Diego State, California, UCF, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, Florida State, BaylorNC State, Louisiana, Ole MissMichigan State, Auburn, SMU, Wake Forest, Miami, Western Kentucky, Purdue, Arizona State, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kent State, Kansas State, UCLA, Appalachian State


Iowa, FloridaOhio State, Mississippi State, Houston, Boise State, Oklahoma State, BYU, Iowa State, LSU, North Carolina, Fresno State, Wisconsin, Georgia State, Virginia, Memphis


Penn State, Texas TechTexas A&M, Coastal Carolina, Arkansas, Notre Dame


American: 1/11 (highest remaining: 2. Cincinnati)

ACC: 1/14 (highest remaining: 1. Clemson)

Big 12: 2/10 (highest remaining: 1. Oklahoma)

Big Ten: 2/14 (highest remaining: 1. Michigan)

Conference USA: 0/14 (last remaining was No. 6 Western Kentucky, eliminated Day 89)

Independents: 0/7 (last remaining was No. 1 Notre Dame, eliminated Day 119)

MAC: 0/12 (last remaining was No. 13 Kent State, eliminated Day 94)

Mountain West: 0/12 (last remaining was No. 7 Fresno State, eliminated Day 109)

Pac-12: 2/12 (highest remaining: 2. Utah)

SEC: 2/14 (highest remaining: 1. Georgia)

Sun Belt: 0/10 (last remaining was No. 6 Coastal Carolina, eliminated Day 117)