Steele Predicting Sugar Bowl for Notre Dame in ’14

Phil Steele Predicting Notre Dame in 2014 Sugar Bowl
General view of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before the 2013 Sugar Bowl between the Louisville Cardinals and the Florida Gators. (Photo: Chuck Cook / USA TODAY Sports)

The godfather of college football pre-season magazines, Phil Steele, published his first bowl projections for the 2013-14 college football season and even with the loss of Everett Golson, Steele has the Irish finishing their season in Louisiana in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.

Steele has Notre Dame facing off against the SEC’s #2 team, Georgia, since he has his SEC Champion, Alabama, playing for the National Championship yet again this year – a projection that should surprise no one.  Steele’s prediction of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl will raise some eyebrows, however.

Even before the loss of Golson, many were doubting whether or not the Irish had another BCS run in them after last year’s run was fueled by a flawless record in close games – a scenario that will be difficult to replicate again in 2013.

A Notre Dame-Georgia matchup would certainly be a hit with fans and TV ratings but might not exactly be the greatest of matchups for the Irish in terms of Notre Dame breaking out of their BCS slump.  Georgia features a fast defense that could give the Notre Dame offense fits this year.  A better potential BCS matchup for Notre Dame would be the Orange Bowl against the Irish’s new ACC brethren.

With Alabama in the title game, the Sugar Bowl would have the first selection of at large teams which would be Georgia in this scenario most likely as they would want to keep the SEC tie.

Steele has Alabama facing off against Ohio State in the BCS Championship which in theory could open up the Rose Bowl to Notre Dame in the event they qualify for the BCS and there isn’t another attractive Big Ten qualifying team.  Right now Steele has Nebraska in the Rose vs. Oregon.  Should the Big Ten have another down like last year when they sent an 8-5 Wisconsin team to the Rose Bowl with Ohio State team ineligible for the BCS, it’s possible they could select a strong Notre Dame team.

Assuming the Rose picks a Big Tean team though, the Orange Bowl would then pick which by this logic would mean that Steele believes they would pick USC as their at large selection leaving the Sugar Bowl free to select Notre Dame.  After how many Notre Dame fans made the trip to South Beach last year, it’s hard to see the Orange Bowl committee passing on them though even if there would be some concerns over having the same team back to back years.

Steele’s Predictions for Notre Dame’s 2013 Opponents

Of the 12 opponents on Notre Dame’s 2013 football schedule, Steele is predicting all but three will be bowling at the end of the season.  Temple, Pitt, and Purdue are all going to be home for the holiday’s based on Steel’e early predictions.  All of the projects are below:

  • Temple – no bowl
  • Michigan – Gator Bowl vs. Ole Miss (Big Ten #5)
  • Purdue – no bowl
  • Michigan State – Outback Bowl vs. Florida (Big Ten #3)
  • Oklahoma – Alamo Bowl vs. Stanford (Big 12 #3)
  • Arizona State – Holiday Bowl vs. TCU (Pac 12 #3)
  • USC – Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas (BCS At Large)
  • Air Force – Poinsettia Bowl vs. Boise State (Army/At Large)
  • Navy – Armed Forces Bowl vs. Colorado St
  • Pitt – n0 bowl
  • BYU – Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
  • Stanford – Alamo Bowl vs. Oklahoma (Pac 12 #2)

USC in the Fiesta Bowl is a pretty bold prediction based on how the Trojans finished the 2012 season and the fact that they will be ushering in a new starting quarterback.  The Trojans are very talented, but the scholarship restrictions from their probation are really being felt now and any injuries for USC would make any sort of BCS run a pretty daunting task.

Interestingly enough, Steele has Michigan State going to one of the Big Ten’s more prestigious bowls than he does Michigan.  He has the Spartans in the Outback Bowl as the #3 Big Ten team with Michigan as the #5 team in the conference.  Wisconsin is slated just ahead of Michigan State as the #2 Big Ten team and Northwestern is sitting between the intra-state rivals as the 4th team.

For comparison’s sake, last year Steele had Notre Dame projected to play in the Belk Bowl against Georgia Tech.


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  1. how would Georgia’s defense give ND fits? Georgia’s defense sucks. besides Jarvis Jones last year, (who’s gone now, obviously) no one on that defense could stop anyone.

  2. It might be the reverse of Steele’s prognostication with Alabama going to the Sugar Bowl + UGA playing for BCSNC.

  3. If we only had TR, I would be worried howbeit that’s not the case. I stand by my 11-1 prediction. Right now as I view it, we go 11-1 and no other teams are undefeated except Bama, we play a rematch. No one else at that point has more marketing power than ND. The football pundits love us for all the wrong reasons, but it sells!

    I don’t have neophobia on scoring a lot of points this year, we will. I am not a fatalist like many on this board. BK’s numbers speak for themselves. It should be somewhat obvious to some, BK has set high attainable goals each year. This year is no different.

    Here come our beloved Irish! Foxsports 1 – Regis & Lou & Allen Pincket!

  4. I think the Sugar Bowl is a stretch. TR will manage the games well but
    has no feet and a weak arm. The other coaches know this and know what to
    do. We wont be a great come from behind team. The defense could be one of
    the best in the country and will keep them in most games. They are going to
    be fun to watch.

  5. Interesting prediction. Without EG at the helm I’m not sure a BCS is realistic though. Many have noted Tommy Rees has sort of plateud. I think we’ve seen all he is capable of giving and that is more or less an 8-4, maybe 9-3 season. I’m not knocking him. He came in last year in games and helped the team win games. But EG was still the starter in most of those games. Everyone has their ceiling and Rees, I believe, has hit his. He’s a sturdy and reliable back up, that is capable of winning games, but week in and week out, he just is not up to the task of playing 12 games start to finish, and right now ND doesn’t have a solid back-up to relieve Rees if he gets in trouble (like Rees did for EG last year).

    ND will still have a great defense and some excellent running backs, and hopefully reliable receivers. But at the end of the day, you need an excellent quarterback to help get you to BCS games.

    1. . . . Or two or three QB’s who play their roles to the max. Some are better relievers than starters, and TR might be one.

      It’s beyond me why two packages- one for Zaire and Hendrix, and one for TR,
      wouldn’t work. Think of the nightmare of preparing in just one week’s prep for the mobile Zaire and the upbeat offense of TR- and throw in Hendrix in some “WildCat” formations, especially at the goal-line – as Florida and Oklahoma have made work for them in the past. With AH, you truly have a double threat inside the red zone and beyond!

      Use all three- and if one gets hurt, you still have two QBs w/ experience.

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