(UHND.com) – Notre Dame’s 44-24 loss at the hands of USC this weekend disappointing as it was, probably did not knock the Irish out of a BCS bowl game with the Sugar and Rose Bowls likely destinations for the Irish who ended up falling to 10th in the latest BCS standings released Sunday.
For the Irish to qualify for a BCS bowl, they must be ranked in the top 12 to be eligible with a guaranteed selection of they end the season in the top 8. The general consensus is that as long as Notre Dame is eligible for a BCS at large berth, they will be selected because of the national following and potential TV ratings the Irish bring with them.
With Notre Dame sitting at 10th, they are eligible by the BCS rules for an at large berth and will most likely be selected by either the Rose or Sugar Bowls.
The Irish are unlikely to fall outside of the top 12 with their regular season over, but there are a few scenarios where they could find themselves out of the BCS mix.
There will be 10 BCS participants this year with the addition of the BCS National Championship game – six conference champions and four at large candidates. Ohio State and USC have the Big Ten and Pac Ten locked up and will be playing for the national title if USC beats UCLA this weekend.
Arkansas and Florida, both ranked ahead of the Irish will play for the SEC Title this weekend. If Florida wins, Arkansas will drop below the Irish, but an Arkansas win and the Gators will still likely be ranked ahead of the Irish.
The Big XII will come down to Oklahoma and Nebraska. Oklahoma is currently ranked 13th in the latest BCS, but even a win over the Cornhuskers is unlikely to push the Sooners ahead of Notre Dame in the rankings. The same can be said for the ACC where Wake Forest and Georgia Tech will play for the ACC Title this weekend.
The last BCS conference, the Big East, could pose a problem for the Irish. A win by Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights are in. The problem here is that Louisville is currently sitting at 10-1 in 6th place in the BCS. Rutgers holds the head to head advantage over Louisville so a Rutgers win over West Virginia and Louisville would be an attractive at large candidate for a BCS bid.
With two of the at large bids all but guaranteed to Boise State and Michigan, only two spots remain. Michigan’s only loss is to #1 ranked Ohio State by three and will be selected by the Rose Bowl who will select their two at large teams first if they lose both USC and Ohio State to the title game.
Boise State meanwhile is guaranteed for a BCS bid if they end the season in top 12 which the undefeated Broncos are right now at 8th. Nothing is going to drop Boise out of the top 12 at this point so they will be headed to the BCS, most likely the Fiesta Bowl.
With two spots left, one will go to one of the two loss SEC teams between LSU and Florida/Arkansas loser. LSU, currently ranked 5th is currently looking for good for a BCS bid because of their wins over Arkansas and Tennessee. The Tigers could end up in the Rose Bowl against Michigan or the Sugar Bowl against the SEC Champ.
The last BCS spot will most likely come down to Notre Dame and Louisville if the Cardinals do not win the Big East. Even still, the Irish would be an attractive candidate for the BCS over the one loss Cardinals for the revenue potential.
One thing to consider is that, fair or not, the bowls are out to make money and having Notre Dame in a bowl game makes sense for them because of the potential for ticket and merchandise sales and TV ratings. Last year Notre Dame was selected over Oregon, who many people in the media felt were more deserving, but the Fiesta Bowl jumped at the chance to select Notre Dame.
Another thing to consider is that the idea of rematches has been a hot topic lately. For that reason, I think the Rose Bowl will select LSU over Notre Dame to avoid a rematch of Notre Dame and Michigan. Selecting LSU would also help the Sugar Bowl avoid a potential rematch with Arkansas, a team they just beat should the Razorbacks beat the Gators this weekend.