Some BCS officials are almost as giddy as Fighting Irish fans are about the prospect of Notre Dame playing in one of their bowl games.
“I tend to think right now, there’s a lot to be played, but I don’t see how they could avoid being in a BCS game somewhere,” Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton said. “They have four games left. Anything can happen, but they’re looking so strong. Even if they only win two of those, certainly if they win three or four, they will be in a BCS game.”
The fourth-ranked Fighting Irish (8-0) are third in the BCS standings heading into their game against Pittsburgh (4-4) on Saturday, where they are 161/2-point favorites. They likely will be favored against Boston College (2-6) and Wake Forest (4-4) before the season finale at USC (6-2).
Officials with the Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls all say they will consider the Irish under the right circumstances, primarily that they meet the minimum requirements of nine victories and being among the top 14 teams in the final BCS standings. Notre Dame would prefer not being an at-large team, hoping instead to finish in the top two and earn a shot at the school’s first national championship since 1988 in the BCS title game Jan. 7 in Miami.
Coach Brian Kelly said he’s not paying attention to all the BCS possibilities, saying he’s leaving that to others. Kelly, who narrowly missed qualifying for the national championship game while at Cincinnati in 2009, said he doesn’t plan to try to lobby for the Irish.
Kevin Ash, chief administrative officer of the Rose Bowl, said its first choice is always to pit a Big Ten team against a Pacific-12 team. But he said if Oregon ends up going to the national championship game and another Pac-12 team isn’t eligible, the Irish would be an attractive choice in part because of its history.
Knute Rockne guided a Notre Dame squad that featured the Four Horsemen to a 27-10 victory over Pop Warner and Stanford in 1925, the only bowl game the Irish played until 1970.
“There’s a lot of lore for the Rose Bowl game and Notre Dame is part of that. So they’re already part of our family. They’re a very celebrated team with a large fan following and they’re playing great football again,” Ash said.
A Lindenwood University football player remains in a St. Louis-area hospital in critical condition after suffering a spinal injury in a game last weekend.
Freshman cornerback Sterling Thomas was hurt in a 45-30 win over Missouri Southern on Saturday at Lindenwood, which is in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles.
Members of the team plan to sell bracelets honoring Thomas to help his family with expenses. The university says other fundraising efforts are planned.
In its first game since a 23-20 loss at rival Miami of Ohio last Saturday knocked Ohio out of the Top 25, the Bobcats (8-1 overall, 4-1 Mid-American) got 128 yards rushing from Ryan Boykin and three TD passes from Tyler Tettleton in a 45-14 thrashing of Eastern Michigan in Athens, Ohio. … Stephen Morris threw two early touchdowns passes, both set up by Virginia Tech special-teams miscues, and Miami (5-4, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a three-game skid with a 30-12 win over the Hokies (4-5, 2-3) in Miami. The loss also ensures Virginia Tech’s streak of eight straight 10-win seasons will end.