If Rutgers beats Louisville on Dec. 4 and Notre Dame loses to USC, the Irish are going to be the most sought after 6-6 team in history.
First, let's assume in all scenarios that Notre Dame loses to USC. And remember Notre Dame falls in the pecking order for Big East bowl placement.
Now if Rutgers beats Louisville that would give the Big East six teams with at least 7 wins and six Big East bowl slots. Which means a 6-win Notre Dame team can not take the place of a 7-win team. So the Big East picture would look like this -- Cincinnati to BCS, West Virginia/Pitt winner to Sun Bowl, West Virginia/Pitt loser to Meineke Car Care Bowl, Connecticut to International, Rutgers to Papajohns.com and South Florida to St. Pete Bowl.
So what happens to the Fighting Irish?
Well, they would have to find a home in a bowl that has an open slot due to conferences not being able to fill.
-- Texas Bowl could have a Big 12 slot. So this might be a home for the Irish. Notre Dame vs. a C-USA team (Rice/Houston/Tulsa) on the NFL Network. Half the country wouldn't even be able to watch Notre Dame. So much for TV ratings.
-- Poinsettia Bowl will have an open slot because it won't be able to fill its Pac-10 slot, but it has a backup deal with the WAC. So scratch that one.
-- Papajohns.com and Independence Bowls will have slots to fill from the SEC, but they have a backup contracts with the Sun Belt. According the Palm Beach Post, both the PapaJohns and Independence must fill it with a 6-6 Sun Belt team unless there is another 7-5 team out there without a bid. So scratch those two. The Independence is going to have a slot on the Big 12 side too, but it looks like they will land Louisiana Tech.
-- Hawaii and Emerald Bowls will have an open slots because it won't be able to fill its Pac-10 slot. So maybe Notre Dame could meet Hawaii in lovely Honolulu. Hey, there are worse places you could be on Dec. 24. Or maybe even San Francisco on Dec. 27 against a team from the ACC -- Clemson? Boston College? Maybe even .... Notre Dame vs. Miami (Fla.).
The biggest problem with the Hawaii, Emerald and Texas Bowls is that a MAC team is going to grab one of these slots. The MAC has three slots and assuming Ball State is in the Motor City and Buffalo is in the International -- either Western Michigan or Central Michigan will be in one of these games with the other in the GMAC Bowl. Both teams have more than 7 wins, so they have to be in a bowl over Notre Dame.
Now all this above becomes moot if Louisville beats Rutgers, because then Notre Dame can take a Big East slot and will most definitely be in El Paso, Tex in the Sun Bowl to play Arizona/Oregon/California or Oregon State.
But if Louisville wins, the Irish will have to scramble, but it looks like the Hawaii, Texas or Emerald Bowls are going to be their best chance to land. Hawaii Bowl pays the least, Emerald Bowl pays the most.
Your guess is as good as mine.
... It doesn't look like Boise State is going to land in the BCS, so that means either stay home at the Humanitarian Bowl or opt out and find another place to play. If it decides to stay home, the Broncos would be matched up against ACC No. 8, which could be Wake Forest or Maryland. If it decides to find a new home, the Poinsettia Bowl would be the best place for them. The Poinsettia Bowl would need a replacement for a Pac-10 team and would match up the undefeated Broncos vs. either BYU or TCU, whichever team the the Las Vegas doesn't take. This could end up being one of the best non-BCS bowl games of the year with the WAC Champions vs. the second-best Mountain West team. Call in the Non-BCS Bowl.
... Speaking of Clemson. If the Tigers win their last game they will be bowl-eligible at 6-6 and become very attractive in the bowl world. According to The State, Meineke bowl director Will Webb said he can foresee Clemson chosen as early as the Champs Sports Bowl, which gets the third at-large ACC pick. “There are just an awfully lot of people who are going to be interested in Clemson, us included,” Webb said. Remember, ACC No. 3 doesn't mean third-place team out of the ACC, it means that bowl gets the third pick.