Notre Dame's brand name might not be enough to get it into the national championship game (you heard that right, Lou Holtz), but it still has plenty pull when it come time for BCS bowls to make their picks.
Despite appearances - that No. 3 Notre Dame is closer to No. 2 Oregon than Oregon is to No. 1 Kansas State in the latest BCS standings - there is no chance for the Irish to catch either team without needing a loss from them. The Irish have maxed out their computer scores at .990 and are unlikely to get any more support in the polls unless they can rout USC at the Coliseum in two weeks.
But there will be a big consolation prize for Notre Dame, and that'll depend on who finishes first and second in the final BCS standings. The Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl are both interested in the Irish. For the Fiesta, Notre Dame was instrumental in helping to build the bowl's reputation when it beat West Virginia to win the the school's last national championship in 1988. For the Irish, they'd get a chance to erase some awful memories as they have dropped their last three bowl games in the desert.
The Rose Bowl ideally would like to keep its traditional Big Ten-Pac 12 matchup, but it might not have the option. In fact, if the Fiesta gets to pick first and selects Notre Dame, the Rose might have to opt for Oklahoma because of a lack of BCS eligible Pac-12 teams. After Oregon, currently only Stanford is in the BCS top 14. But the Cardinal still have to play the Ducks, as does No. 16 Oregon State and the winner of the No. 17 UCLA-No. 18 USC game. If Oregon does run the table and go to the title game, none of those teams will be in the top 14.
After having had TCU, Texas and Oklahoma in Pasadena in the past decade as per the auspices of the BCS, the Rose Bowl is intrigued by having Notre Dame back for the first time since the days of Knute Rockne. The Irish defeated Stanford 27-10 in the 1925 game. It was Notre Dame's first bowl appearance and its only one until 1970 as the school self-imposed a bowl ban for nearly half a century.
BCS Bowl Projections
BCS national championship - Kansas State vs. Oregon
Fiesta Bowl - Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M
Rose Bowl - Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
Sugar Bowl - Alabama vs. Clemson
Orange Bowl - Florida State vs. Louisville