Where Will Notre Dame Go Bowling?

Notre Dame is used to being courted, and even the addition of the new four-team college football playoff will not change that. The Big Six Five conferences have locked up their berths to the major bowls well past 2014, and it is time for Notre Dame to flex their muscles (as we normally do) and ensure ourselves a spot (or two) to compete against the nation’s best year in and year out. This is especially important in light of our 2010-13 situation where it is BCS-or-bust for the Irish, a result of the poor contracts signed by former Irish AD Kevin White. As Tex excellently detailed in this previous post, “the non-BCS options for ND suck.” Jack Swarbrick recently spoke to Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune on this very issue:

“I’m confident the outcome of this (postseason plan) for Notre Dame will have better postseason options than what we have now. There is just too much left to do to be able to be able to quantify it beyond that, but these four years (2010-2013), we have not been in a very good position.”

Thankfully, Notre Dame doesn’t have to be worried about missing the boat, as several of the marquee bowls have legitimate interest in getting Notre Dame in the mix. Obviously, the bowl possibility that is garnering the most attention is the Orange Bowl, as Notre Dame has confirmed that it has entered into negotiations with the ACC for an Orange Bowl tie-in. The ACC just signed a new 12-year deal with the bowl, and adding Notre Dame as a possible opponent for those years sounds like money a very good opportunity for the conference.

However, don’t rule out the Fiesta Bowl yet either. The Fiesta Bowl President has spoken publicly that it would be enticing to have Notre Dame play there as well, given the obvious Irish following and the TV ratings boosts that accompany it. A chance for the SEC and Notre Dame to square off in the ring would be something that many Irish fans salivate for. Expect the Fiesta Bowl committee to make a hard push for Notre Dame as an option before it is all said and done.

Can Notre Dame do both?

Kevin McGuire of the Examiner believes that Notre Dame playing the same conference winner each year would be both demeaning to that conference, and has the potential of becoming a “stale” game for fans. Therefore, he proposes this rather interesting solution where Notre Dame floats between the Orange and Fiesta Bowls.

Is this a viable option? That remains to be seen, but if any man could pull off such a deal, it would be Jack Swarbrick, the best AD in the country. I personally find the idea of floating between several bowls much more exciting than seeing the same show every year.

Bowl Criteria

Now, under the old BCS agreement, Notre Dame was eligible for a major bowl as long as we were ranked in the top 14 or had a minimum of 9 wins. Despite the fact that we only qualified for either criteria three times since the arrangement, Notre Dame really likes those requirements, and would look for similar requirements for any bowl contracts it may sign. However, it wouldn’t shock anyone if the Orange or Fiesta Bowl tried to up the minimum wins requirement to double-digits.

While nothing is set in stone, you can pretty much count on seeing the Irish with an Orange Bowl tie-in to face off against the ACC. The Fiesta Bowl remains a darkhorse, but it certainly something worth keeping an eye on. Regardless, all Irish fans are hoping that these contracts are all simply meaningless, and the Irish just go ahead and qualify for the four-team playoff instead.

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  • NDtex

    I think you got your bowls mixed up. Fiesta is currently Big XII vs At-Large and the Sugar is SEC vs At-Large. Of course, there will be the new Champions Bowl in play pitting the Big XII vs the SEC soon, but no “traditional” bowl has yet snagged that contract.

    It could very will be the case that the Fiesta turns into a bowl game without any conference tie-ins at this rate.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/GrantlandX Grantland-X

      I just assumed it was likely that an SEC team would still be selected for Fiesta, based on their history with the bowl. The SEC generally has a number of teams that qualify for BCS games. However, you’re right that it is up in the air. Either way, it would a great game to have a tie-in to.

  • Terry

    If we don’t win at least 10 games this season much of the above will not mean much

    • denverirish

      None of this has to do with the current season. We are stuck through 2013 with BCS or bust. If you’re implying the bowls will not be interested in Notre Dame in the future unless we win 10 games this year, history contradicts this.

  • denverirish

    Interesting concept. I can see the Orange Bowl looking for a 10 win season, but I can definitely see them keeping the 9 win requirement. With Swarbrick intending to keep our SOS strong, a 9-win team will need to be a good team. As long as they don’t pit us against the SEC team that thinks it should have been in the title game, we have a chance.

    If they don’t get a double tie-in, they could build in an option that the bowl can decide not to select Notre Dame even if we are eligible every x number of years. It is the opposite of Champs Sports Bowl tie-in where they can only pick us once. It creates the option so no one can say a bowl is stuck with us, but the reality is it is likely it will not get exercised, or if it does, it means we really should not be in that bowl.

  • Irish Eyes in SD

    This is great news for when:
    1. We don’t qualify for the playoffs.
    2. We have 9-10 wins.

    Sorry to be the one to point this out, but we haven’t finished the regular season with 9 wins since 2006. What about securing bowl agreements for years like the past few when we’re 6-6, 7-5, or 8-4?

    • NDtex

      That’s working backwards. While I agree that we should definitely secure contracts with the “second tier” bowl games, you don’t start there.

      Secure the big games, then filer down. Going in the opposite direction sends the wrong message to not only the ND fanbase (HEY LOOK, EVEN JACK THINKS WE SUCK!) but it also weakens the bargaining position when dealing with other bowls (Hey look, ND has awful top-tier bowl contracts, let’s fleece them!).

      Finally, be aware that Jack has mentioned that such games are indeed on his radar, but wants to make sure this is taken care of first.

      • trey

        IMHO the route we need to go with that(barring Tex’s suggestion of inking a top-tier location first) is to negotiate with both the Cotton and Alamo bowls. Cotton because we have such a grand tradition and amazing success there and because of it’s trajectory as one of THE top bowls at THE top location in the country. Alamo because the momentum it’s been gaining the last 4-5 years. It started out as an afterthought joke bowl like Beef O’Brady and now it has the 2nd choice Pac-16 and the 3rd BXIII team. Both of which are outstanding matchups for a 7-win Irish. Add onto that that both games are in TEXAS(recruiting hotspot) and San Antonio is a huge ND town, it is a prime destination for us.