What are the exact rules on Bowl selection? I understand the order the bowls pick in, but unless I am mistaken, there isn't a rule saying the 3rd Bowl to get a selection has to take the team that finishes 3rd in the league.
I believe our bowl selection depends on how WVU and UConn finish and how it relates to ND taking the Champs Sports Bowl, and how Pitt finishes.
As for ND taking the Champs Sports Bowl, This article talks with the Champs Bowl CEO. He seems more intent on having a good team, regardless of whether or not it's ND. He mentions that they also have 4 years to do this, it doesn't have to be this first year.
Regardless of the 7-5 rule, though, it really did sound like Hogan wants the best available team. It didn't sound like other bowl presidents I've interviewed that almost drooled over the Irish.
Now, since this article ND has gotten to 7-5 from 5-5, but in this interview Hogan still makes the same points.
"What we're looking for, like I said, is a ranked team if we can, a highly successful team in terms of wins and losses and go from there," Hogan said.
"Notre Dame is every bit in that picture, but I do think there are some teams there in the Big East -- West Virginia mainly at 9-3 if they got there, and maybe an outside look at (South Florida), if they were to beat Connecticut to finish the season to get to 8-4 -- that pool of teams with Notre Dame deserves a good, hard look."
If WVU finishes at 9-3, remains ranked, and UConn goes to the BCS, I think he’d take a ranked WVU team over ND. And then we get the St. Pete bowl with no real issues.
If however, WVU wins and UConn loses, I can see Champs taking ND over UConn. In that case, that leaves 5 teams for 4 bowls. In this scenario, I see two different possibilities:
- Pitt loses this weekend and finishes 6-6.
- Pitt wins to finish 7-5.
In scenario 1, I think we get picked over Pitt. Pitt fan interest would wain due to the disappointment of their season, compounded with the fact that Pitt fans are known to not be great travelers. Louisville on the other hand, has fans that travel well, it avoids the UK game, and our season is considered beyond expectations, with a bowl being a cherry on top. Also, most experts are picking Southern Miss to be the C-USA rep in the St. Pete bowl, and with our history with Southern Miss, I think it's a given we get picked over Pitt.
However, if Pitt wins, it becomes more difficult to pick us over them. Regardless of fan feelings and how they travel, it would come down to St. Pete wanting a team with a winning record, and we are stuck waiting for an at-large bid.
I think we end up at the St. Pete bowl. Pitt will lose, and then the Champs Sports Bowl choice doesn't really matter. We get St. Pete, and Pitt is an at-large selection.