Let the hype begin. Notre Dame vs. Alabama (or Georgia) in the BCS title game in Miami on January 7th.
No muss, no fuss. ESPN is happy. The BCS will be delighted if its Notre Dame vs. Alabama in the bluest of blue blooded match-ups.
Very little controversy.
So it came to pass on the final full weekend of the college football regular season. Notre Dame was the key to all of this. The Irish carried their unbeaten season and No. 1 ranking into the Los Angeles Coliseum against USC.
They left with their ranking and reputation stable, if not enhanced, using a spectacular defensive stance inside their own 5 yard line as the highlight of the evening which ended with a 22-13 Irish victory.
The game was closer on the field than it was on the sideline which was a mismatch in favor of Irish coach Brian Kelly over USC’s Lane Kiffin, whose play calling and clock management in the final minutes were perplexing to say the least.
Having said that, Notre Dame deserved to win the game. “We have the pressure at Notre Dame to win every week,” said Kelly, who is now 1 win away from continuing a tradition of ND coaches in their third year at ND winning national championships.
Former ND coaches Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz all won the national championship in their third season..
When asked about the final defensive stance, Kelly said simply, “That’s who we are.”
Notre Dame was both good and lucky, winning 3 games by a field goal, two wins in overtime. They won blow outs and they won games they should have lost–Pittsburgh and Stanford.
Now they are back on top, 1 game away from winning their first national championship since 1988.
With the BCS game match-up all but set, the other BCS bowls should look like this: look solid.
The Rose Bowl: Stanford-UCLA winner vs. Nebraska-Wisconsin winner. Danger for Rose Bowl is Wisconsin-UCLA, which would be a regular season rematch.
Sugar Bowl–Florida vs. Oklahoma, Kansas State or Big East champion. At first, it looked like a slam dunk. SEC runner-up vs Big 12 runner-up, which realistically is the Sugar Bowl deal of the future.Florida, with a BCS ranking in the Top 4 is guaranteed a BCS slot, which knocks LSU out of the mix since BCS rules permit only two teams from the same conference receiving bids.
Orange Bowl–Georgia Tech-Florida State winner vs. Louisville-Rutgers winner. Looks like a done deal, right?
But wait. ..Keep an eye on the MAC-Champion or Boise State. If either of those teams is ranked in the Top 16 in the final BCS rankings AND ahead of a conference champion with an automatic BCS spot, the bid is theirs. Boise State was ranked No. 22 in last week’s BCS standings, Kent State was ranked No 23. Normally, you would say, not a chance.
But over the weekend. Oregon State, Texas, Rutgers, Michigan, Louisville, and Oklahoma State, all of whom were ranked ahead of Kent State LOST. Kent State will face Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game on Friday. If Kent State wins or Boise State beats Nevada in its final regular season game on Saturday, either team could be in the BCS mix. Northern Illinois would be more of a long shot.
Since the Orange Bowl has the last pick in the BCS rotation, the Boise State-Kent State connection will almost certainly head to Miami if eligible. If that happens, the potential of an Orange Bowl game between Kent State and Georgia Tech is technically possible.
Fiesta Bowl–Oregon vs. Oklahoma or Kansas State. Oregon would appear to be a lock to come to Arizona and if Kansas State beats Texas on Saturday, the Wildcats are the Big 12 champions and will serve as the host team. If Kansas State loses, Oklahoma will move into the spot.
Not a good weekend for the ACC. Both division winners, Florida State and Georgia Tech lost their regular season finales. FSU was overtaken by Florida 37-26 while Tech was run over by Georgia 42-10…Clemson also lost to South Carolina and Maryland is leaving…ACC could be proactive and expand to 16 teams by taking UConn, Louisville and another Big East team such as Cincinnati, South Florida or Central Florida…Not a good weekend for former BC coach Tom O’Brien, whose team finished with a 7-5 record after beating BC. Not good enough for AD Debbie Yow who fired O’Brien after 6 seasons. Look for Yow to go after Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. It will be a costly hire since Yow must play O’Brien the three remaining years on his contract and the buyout for Franklin is signficant as well as a new contract which will have to be in the $2 million per year range since Franklin will be courted by a number of schools. All O’Brien did was win games, have his players graduate.
© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.