I’m not sure how I completely forgot to mention the current talk of ND’s possible bowl bids. I think I should rectify this mistake.
As the article mentions, the Irish have chances at the following bowls:
- Cotton Bowl
- Gator Bowl
- Sun Bowl
Now, bowl rules are screwy, but I think I have them listed in order of priority. That is, Cotton gets first dibs, then Gator and then Sun. Again, this I am not 100% sure of.
What I do know is this, the Cotton Bowl, under the current BCS/Bowl contracts, can replace an SEC team with the Irish within a four year span — and from what I understand, they have two more years (including this one) to do this. According to the article, a 7-5 Irish team would still hold the Cotton Bowl’s interest (assuming Syracuse win and USC loss), even though they (as well as the Gator Bowl) have never given a five loss team a bid.
In order to get a clearer picture of this possibility, I think it is important to consider just who the Irish would be replacing, and that means we have to look at the whole BCS and national title picture. Those bowls are as follows:
National Title – #1 BCS v #2 BCS
Rose Bowl – Big Ten Champ v Pac 10 Champ
Fiest Bowl – Big XII Champ v At Large*
Orange Bowl – ACC Champ v At Large*
Sugar Bowl – SEC Champ v At Large*
One of the At Large spots must be the Big East Champ.
Now from here you can either choose to go based on my predictions or trust the folks at ESPN with theirs. I have a feeling we will match up close; however, I am not going to go into specific teams in here, but focus on the conference and at large picture.
With Penn State falling last week, it is quite clear in my opinion that the BCS Championship will be Big XII v SEC Champ. The reason I don’t say Big XII champ is because I have a feeling that if Texas Tech loses either against OU (which I don’t think will happen) or in the Big XII Championship game (I don’t think that will happen either), there is a very good possibility that either Texas or OU will leapfrog Mizzou if they happen to win the conference title (which I don’t think they will do against any Big XII South team). So in my opinion you are looking at a title game that will have Texas/Texas Tech v Alabama/Florida.
Now, since in ND terms, we are most concerned with the SEC, we will focus on that picture. Whoever does not appear in the title game will quickly get scooped up by another bowl (most likely the Sugar Bowl to keep a SEC team in). From here the Cotton Bowl will then either pick the next best SEC team or replace them with ND. That team will most likely be LSU in my opinion, but you may also see Georgia sneak in there.
So that is the question that faces the Cotton Bowl. Do we bring in ND over LSU/Georgia? Most likely not. The only way ND has a chance at the Cotton Bowl is if they beat USC or LSU/Georgia slip out. ND will, at best, be just inside the top 25 and LSU and Georiga will be in the top 20. You just can’t snub them. As an Irish fan you don’t really want the snub. ND would be playing either OU or Mizzou, both of which I believe can beat the Irish.
So then, we go to our old friends in the Gator Bowl. What are our chances there? Quite frankly, very damned good. The Gator Bowl is: ACC v Big Eat/Big XII/ND. So who is ND competing against here? Well it will be either the runner up for the laughable Big East Conference or the next best Big XII team available (the one the Cotton Bowl doesn’t take basically). So the team pool we are looking at here competing for the ND bid is Mizzou/OK State/Pitt/WVU. Honestly, I can’t see any of these teams getting the nod over ND. The Gator Bowl has a good habit of picking ND even if they can slightly justify it. So I think this will be our most likely spot.
So what about the Sun Bowl? Well don’t expect us to go there unless disaster strikes and Syracuse pulls of a mircale. The Sun Bowl said they would love to take even a 6-6 Irish team. The Gator Bowl may want ND, but even they won’t be taking us then. While this game would likely be the easiest match up for ND, I don’t see it happening. You don’t want to see this happening. The Irish in the Sun Bowl means ND royally screws up this week. Forget the Sun Bowl exists.
Seriously, forget it exists.
So start making those travel plans for Flordia if you want to get a jump on things. Or if you will hold out hope for the huge upset against USC, have two flights ready to go. Because if the Irish pull that off, they will be in the Cotton Bowl garanteed.
Party will be at my place.
Final Prediction: Gator Bowl Birth: ND v Maryland
GO IRISH! BEAT ORANGE!