Surveying Notre Dame’s bowl options
Shreveport, La., shows up in Notre Dame’s brand new postseason world, although so deep in a hypothetical web that it’s difficult to outline a scenario in which the Irish would default to the bowl system’s equivalent of Walmart.
Classy, hard-working people and future Irish offensive lineman Jerry Tillery aside, the Northwestern Louisiana city struggles to impress with its hosting of what used to be called the Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl., now the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
And yes there is a tie-in to the cable TV series Duck Dynasty.
Shortly before ND’s only appearance there — at the end of Bob Davie’s first season as head coach (1997) — the then-bowl director was asked what was the most exciting activity fans might be able to look forward to beyond the game itself. She responded with an event that was staged in Marshall.
Which just happens to be in another state.
For the past four years, Notre Dame has been locked in a bowl-contract purgatory that made the Independence Bowl and/or some of the lowest-paying, least-geographically desirable, opponent-poor games plausible realities in seasons when the Irish didn’t reach the BCS plateau.
Not only doesn’t the BCS exist anymore, the dumpster dive that the Big East sort of contractually shoved the Irish into in the last contract cycle doesn’t exist either.
The top of the new postseason scenario list is the new four-team playoff. The floor actually is the temporarily sponsorless St. Petersburg Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. — but only in 2014 and 2016.
That’s the beauty and complexity of ND’s revised December/January reality. The postseason picture changes from year to year, because of rotating semifinals sites in the playoff, conditional bowl options, and bowl tiers — where several games share the same pecking order with all kinds of gray area to sort out come actual selection time.
Realistically in 2014, ND has a shot at 16 different postseason scenarios. The one rule to keep in mind is for the Irish to be selected over an ACC team by a particular bowl, ND must be within one win of that team.
For instance, a 9-3 ND team could ace out a 10-2 ACC squad, but not one with an 11-1 record.