If we had won, would we have ended up in the Fiesta Bowl as UCF did? Or would we have been selected by the Sugar Bowl again?
I think the Sugar would have taken a really hard look at us. It could have been a bizarro national title game. "Crown their asses" #3 Alabama vs. undefeated and untested #6 (or #7) Louisville. I still think the Orange Bowl goes for Ohio State, simply because we are joining the ACC next year (they'd want to avoid an ACC vs. ACC match-up) and the Buckeyes are the Buckeyes. You don't pass up the ticket sales or the TV ratings. But the Sugar Bowl would have had to remember last year. They would've had to consider the 30K+ that we brought down to New Orleans. And they would've been unable to forget the performance we brought last year against Florida.
I know the bowls don't necessarily like repeat visitors, but this would've been different. This would've been two preseason national title contenders (one certain, one longshot) with one loss between them, meeting on a huge stage. So I think they would've opted for a #3 vs. #6 (or #7) match-up, which would then have knocked Oklahoma out of the BCS picture. Perhaps then the Fiesta Bowl takes Oregon, and we get to watch Baylor vs. Oregon. First one to 70 wins.
I think the sad part about this is that I kind of knew deep down that we had almost no shot at the title game after the UK game. But I never considered the possibility that this team would not make a BCS bowl. Not for a second. That is, until we lost to UCF, which changed everything.
What about the Russell Athletic Bowl?
All that being said, if we couldn't make the BCS, I think we got the best match-up we could have hoped for in Miami. It will be the continuation of rivalries for many of these guys that date back to grade school. It's in Florida, which is huge for recruiting, and it's against one of the Big 3, which is also huge for recruiting. These guys have worked their tails off for an opportunity like this, and even though it's not the Sugar Bowl, it's a damn good bowl game, against a quality opponent, and all the rewards, both personal and for the program, are there for the taking. Go Cards. Beat Canes.