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Big East bowls: not as muddy; USF damages Sun Bowl’s shot at Notre Dame
Posted Nov 24, 2008 by Brett McMurphy
Updated Nov 24, 2008 at 02:34 PM
First, I’ll cut to the chase: USF is now locked into the St. Pete Bowl.
Now the bad news for Jim Johnson. Sorry, Jim, I was actually right for once. I won’t retract my apology, but it turns out the “two-win” overall rule concerning Notre Dame’s bowl eligibility only involves the Gator Bowl and does NOT involve the Sun Bowl. That comes directly from Big East associate commissioner Nick Carparelli.
Because there has been a lot of misinformation about the Big East bowl situation, especially concerning Notre Dame, I had a chance to speak with Carparelli before the USF-UConn game Sunday night to clear it up once and for all.
I had previously been told by Big East and bowl officials earlier this year that Notre Dame could – and could not – get a Big East bowl if the Irish finish 6-6.
With 100 percent certainty, here is the Big East’s bowl situation concerning Notre Dame, according to Carparelli.
First off, USF is very, very fortunate to have beaten UConn. Because if the Bulls had lost to UConn and West Virginia, Notre Dame could have still been selected by the Sun Bowl. However, since the Bulls got their seventh win, the only way Notre Dame (6-5) can get to the Sun Bowl is by (a) upsetting USC Saturday or (b) Rutgers (6-5) losing at home to Louisville on Dec. 4.
The reason 6-6 Notre Dame wouldn’t be able to go to the Sun Bowl is because if the Big East has six seven-win teams to fill its six bowl games. The Sun Bowl is not allowed, by NCAA rules, to select a six-win Big East team (including Notre Dame) if a seven-win team is available. The Big East currently has five seven-win teams (Cincy, Pitt, West Virginia, UConn and USF) with Rutgers one win away from its seventh win.
And remember, Notre Dame is only available for the Gator or Sun and not any other Big East bowls. Clear as mud, right? Good, I’ll trudge on.
So here are the latest, up to date, and accurate scenarios, and of course, my predictions, for the Big East bowls:
Scenario 1: USF finishes 8-4 or 7-5. The Bulls are headed to the St. Pete Bowl whether they win or lose at West Virginia. It doesn’t matter what happens with any other Big East teams winning or losing. It’s that simple: a 7 or 8-win USF goes to St. Pete Bowl. USF bowl: St. Pete
Scenario 2: Rutgers (6-5) beats Louisville on Dec. 4 and Notre Dame (6-5) loses at USC Saturday. Notre Dame is eliminated from Sun Bowl contention and the following six Big East teams (Cincy, Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, USF and Rutgers) will be selected for the six Big East bowls. My prediction: Cincy wins Big East goes to Orange Bowl, Gator selects Nebraska (or another Big 12 team), Sun picks West Virginia (thinking that WVU defeats Pitt and USF), Meineke Car Care picks Rutgers, Papajohns.com picks UConn, International picks Pitt and St. Pete picks USF.
Scenario 3: Rutgers loses to Louisville and Notre Dame loses at USC. Cincy, Pitt, WVU, UConn and USF are guaranteed Big East bowls (because they all have seven wins), while Notre Dame can go to the Sun Bowl. My prediction: Orange (Cincy), Gator (Nebraska/Big 12), Sun (Notre Dame), Meineke Car Care (West Virginia), Papajohns.com (Pittsburgh), International (UConn), St. Pete (USF) and Rutgers would have to find a non-Big East bowl.
Scenario 4: Rutgers loses to Louisville and Notre Dame upsets USC: Same as Scenario 3, except Notre Dame, now 7-5, might be attractive to the Gator Bowl (and eligible to be selected). My prediction: Same as Scenario 3, except Notre Dame lands in Gator or Sun.
Scenario 5: Rutgers defeats Louisville and Notre Dame upsets USC: The Big East would have seven, seven-win teams (including Notre Dame), meaning one Big East seven-win team would get shipped to a non-Big East bowl. My prediction: Orange (Cincy), Gator (Notre Dame), Sun (Big 12), Meineke Car Care (West Virginia), Papajohns.com (Rutgers), International (Pitt or UConn), St. Pete (USF) and whoever International doesn’t take between UConn or Pitt goes to a non-Big East bowl.
Of course, all this can change Saturday if Cincy loses to Syracuse Saturday. But even if the Bearcats are upset, USF is locked into the St. Pete Bowl. Just waiting now for the official invitation.