Luck of the Irish runs out

by Staff

Good thing for the San Diego State football team that Notre Dame considers itself too good for anything but the Orange, Sugar or Fiesta Bowls.

The reported refusal by Notre Dame to accept anything less than an alliance bowl bid significantly increases No. 6 BYU’s chances of securing a Fiesta Bowl berth. The Bowl Alliance announced Monday that Notre Dame was off its short list of teams in contention for the two at-large bids in the aforementioned bowls. The other schools being considered are No. 7 Colorado, No. 8 Penn State and No. 9 Tennessee.

With a win over Wyoming on Saturday in the Western Athletic Conference championship game, BYU (12-1) could be headed for a Fiesta Bowl match-up against Penn State. Most believe the Cougars, whose average margin of victory is 27.3 points, must win big to lock up the Fiesta Bowl berth. Should that happen, SDSU would then have an outside shot at being invited to play in the Holiday Bowl here in San Diego on Dec. 30.

Confusion reigns when the Copper and Cotton Bowls come into the picture. Instead of trying to explain everything to you like you’re a 6-year-old, figure it out this way (truth is, we couldn’t figure it out either):

Copper Bowl, Dec. 27, Tucson, Ariz.

TV: ESPN, 9 p.m. EST.

Affiliation: WAC No. 2 vs. Big-12 No. 5.

Pairing: Wyoming, Utah or BYU vs. a team yet to be determined because the Big-12 No. 5 team didn’t have enough wins to qualify for the berth. It’s now an open slot.

Plymouth Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30, San Diego

TV: ESPN, 8 p.m. EST.

Affiliation: WAC champ or Pac-10 No. 2 vs. Big-12 No. 13.

Pairing: Wyoming, BYU, SDSU or Washington vs. Colorado, Texas or Kansas State.

Cotton Bowl, Jan. 1, Dallas

TV: CBS, 1:30 p.m. EST.

Affiliation: Big-12 No. 2 vs. Pac-10 No. 2 or WAC champ.

Pairing: Kansas State or Colorado vs. Washington, BYU or Wyoming.

This year’s WAC champion is yet to be determined. One thing is for sure, it’ll be BYU or Wyoming. So those will be this year’s WAC No. 1 and No. 2 teams. This year’s Pac-10 No. 2 team is Washington.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

Utah can get in the Holiday Bowl if BYU wins and is selected to the alliance, Wyoming is selected by the Copper Bowl and Washington goes to the Cotton Bowl. The Utes can get into the Copper Bowl if BYU is selected to the alliance and Wyoming is taken by the Holiday Bowl and Washington is taken by the Cotton Bowl.

SDSU’s only realistic shot is in the Holiday Bowl. For the Aztecs, BYU needs to win and be selected to the alliance, Wyoming either gets snubbed or chosen by the Copper Bowl and Washington has to go to the Cotton Bowl.

That would force the Holiday Bowl to choose between the Aztecs and the Utes. Logic should dictate SDSU would have home-fan advantage and would sell more tickets.

Then there’s Washington. If BYU wins and isn’t selected to the Bowl Alliance, the Cotton Bowl could choose the Cougars or the Huskies. If it chooses the Cougars, the Huskies would be Holiday Bowl-bound, Wyoming would likely head to the Copper Bowl and SDSU would be going home.

There. That’s much clearer. Isn’t it?