by Mike Coffey
…ND would be in the National Title Game. I don’t know about you, but that’s as deep as my interest goes on the subject given that parameter. If we’re in Miami Gardens, I really don’t care who’s tooling around in Tempe or Pasadena. It all goes on the pay-no-mind list.
So instead, let’s engage in a thought experiment and predict what would happen if, God forbid, the Irish fall short next Saturday in Compton.
Today, the three spots behind ND are taken by SEC schools (quelle surprise):
1) Notre Dame
6) Kansas State
If Kansas State can only fall to #6 after getting their doors blown off by a four-win Baylor squad with one of the worst defenses in the country, I feel pretty confident saying a one-loss ND will remain auto-eligible for the BCS in one of the top eight slots.
So let’s look at the probabilities bowl-by-bowl in the event of an Irish loss:
Rose Bowl: Zero percent. What was a decent chance last week got knocked down and out with Oregon’s loss to Stanford. A Stanford win over UCLA on Saturday gives them the division and a rematch with said Bruins for the Pac12 title. If Stanford loses, Oregon will host UCLA for that title. Either way, there will be an eligible Pac12 team to face the B1G representative, so the Rose will go that way.
Fiesta Bowl: 50 percent. They’ll no longer lose a participant to the title game. However, they pick first among the at-large bowls, and they’ll be looking for a good opponent for Kansas State. The only way they would pass on ND is if Oklahoma is the BigXII champion, so if KSU takes down the Horns, here’s where ND will be if it isn’t Miami.
Sugar Bowl: 50 percent. Two ways this can happen:
1) Assuming the order stays the same, the Alabama/Georgia winner would face Florida for the National Title. Setting aside for a moment what bullshit that is, that means the Sugar Bowl will lose its SEC representative and not be able to select another SEC team to replace them because two SEC teams already will be playing in the title game. As long as Florida beats Florida State, there will be space in the Sugar for ND.
2) As noted above, if Oklahoma is the BigXII champ (which would happen if Texas beats KSU and OU beats OSU and TCU), the Fiesta wouldn’t want a rematch and would pass on the Irish. Sugar picks after they do, and would jump at the chance for a matchup between ND and the SEC runner-up.
Orange Bowl: Zero percent. There’s no scenario I can envision where the Sugar Bowl lets ND slip past them. No way, no how, no chance.