Posted by Tom Fornelli
Here's some news that the Big East will love to hear. On the same day that the conference will make the announcement that TCU will be joining it in 2012, it sounds like one of the teams currently in the conference could miss out on a chance to go to the Champs Sports Bowl this season. The bowl game has the option of replacing it's normal Big East tie-in every four years with Notre Dame, and it sounds like that may be the case this season.
Talking with the Chicago Tribune, Champs Sports Bowl CEO Steve Hogan says that the game will give strong consideration to Notre Dame following the Irish's victory over USC on Saturday night in southern California.
"I guess the way to say it is that they're a very attractive, strong candidate amongst maybe a short list of maybe one or two other teams that we're looking at, that have to really play out this coming Saturday," Hogan told the Tribune.
"They played their way back into it. Their whole body of work is pretty impressive, when you look at some of the losses and the closing wins. That's a team that certainly seems to be on the way up and that 7-5 is stronger than maybe it looks at first. They're right there in the middle of it, and we got maybe one or two other teams that can play their way into that argument Saturday. And then we'll debate it, knock it out and make a pick."
The one Big East team that the bowl is likely to consider over Notre Dame? That would be West Virginia. If the Mountaineers win this weekend against Rutgers, there's a chance they'd finish the year 9-3, ranked, yet out of the BCS picture should UConn beat South Florida and win the Big East. If the Champs Sports Bowl wants to go with quality of team, it'd be hard to say that a 7-5 unranked Notre Dame team is better than a ranked 9-3 West Virginia team.
Of course, raise your hands if you think that bowl games actually care about that as much as they do filing seats and making money.
Exactly. Something tells me the idea of having Notre Dame fans flocking to Orlando and filling the stadium will look a lot more appealing than West Virginia's ranking when all is said and done. Whatever the case, we should know next Sunday.