Notre Dame’s final bowl destination will come down to a lottery drawing. It certainly isn’t the end result that anyone expected when we linked this handy infographic from FIDM, but here we are.
Now, the situation isn’t as simple as the six “Tier 1” bowls all throwing their names into a hat. Nothing ever is when it comes to the bowls. I’ve done a bit of digging around to try and paint the best picture that I can, and this post will detail what I’ve found. To paint an easier picture, I will list all bowl options, even those that Notre Dame will not be eligible for.
Playoffs & New Year’s Six Bowls
Bowls: Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, Peach
How the Irish get in: The college football playoff committee will makes these selections. As a safe rule of thumb, the Irish need to land in the top 10 to get into these games. So, yeah, not happening this season.
Any other special conditions? Yes. If ND is the highest ranked, non-playoff team out of the SEC or B1G, they earn an Orange Bowl bid. However, ND can only appear in the Orange Bowl twice over the current twelve year contract (when it is a non-playoff game).
ACC “Top Tier” Bowls
Bowls: Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (vs. SEC) & Russell Athletic Bowl (vs. Big XII)
How the Irish get in: The playoff committee doesn’t put ND in a NY6 Bowl and one of the following is true:
- Of all ACC teams, Notre Dame is ranked the highest
- Of all ACC teams, Notre Dame is within one win of the best win/loss records
Any other special conditions? Yes. The Citrus Bowl can only select an ACC team if a B1G team is in the Orange Bowl. That likely won’t happen this season based on projections that I’ve seen thus far. Even if FSU falls to Georgia Tech this likely won’t happen. Of course, chaos can still reign. Even if it does, there are too many 9-win teams in the ACC for ND to crack into these two bowls this season. I would assume there is another maximum limit for ND in these bowls, but I didn’t see any.
ACC Tier 1 Bowls
Bowls: Belk Bowl (vs. SEC), Sun Bowl (vs. Pac 12), Pinstripe Bowl (vs. B1G), Music City Bowl (vs. SEC), TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (vs. SEC)
How the Irish get in: Notre Dame lands in a pool of the ACC 3-6. If any of the bowls in this tier desire to select Notre Dame, they will enter a drawing. The winner of this lottery will win the right to select Notre Dame for their game.
Based on all projections that I’ve read thus far, the only way ND would’ve landed outside of this pool this season is if they ended 6-6. With 7-5, and the ACC having a down season overall, the Irish can be considered for this pool. The Irish will likely end up somewhere here.
Any other special conditions? Yes and this is where things get messy. The Music City and TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowls aren’t ACC exclusive. They also have a contractual obligation to select a B1G team three times in six years. This means only four ACC teams (Notre Dame included) will end up in four of these bowls every year. Further, it appears that Notre Dame can only be selected by each bowl once, with that count only resetting once all bowls have had the chance to select Notre Dame.
For this reason, I seriously doubt that the Pinstripe Bowl blows their single ND bid for the foreseeable future by taking the chance on inviting the Irish to their game two years in a row. As far as teams that are interested, Irish Illustrated noted the following last night.
Sun Bowl rep told Irish Illustrated that it wants Notre Dame back in El Paso this year, likely against Washington or Utah.
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) December 2, 2014
Also spoke with a Belk Bowl rep who indicated they would likely put in to select ND as well. ACC “Tier 1” bowls have lottery for Irish.
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) December 2, 2014
They didn’t note comment from the other two bowls which have B1G tie-ins (Music City & Gator), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to throw their names into the ND selection hate, especially with the B1G having very little in desirable options this season.
ACC Tier 2 Bowls
Bowls: Military Bowl (vs. AAC), Independence Bowl (vs. SEC), Quick Lane Bowl (vs. B1G)
How the Irish get in: Finish 6-6 during a season or have the poor fortune of finishing 7-5 when the ACC has a stronger season.
Any special conditions? I’d assume it’s the same as the Tier 1 bowls. I honestly didn’t find a thing on this.
The Last Resort
Bowls: Bitcoin Bowl (vs. AAC/C-USA), Birmingham Bowl (vs. SEC/AAC)
How the Irish get in: Finish 6-6 in such a terrible fashion that even the Tier 2 bowls run for cover and avoid ND like the plague.
Any special conditions? These bowls pretty much hope that Notre Dame doesn’t decide to just forgo a bowl by falling this low.
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