The BCS has announced the game lineups for the major bowls this season, and the big news isn’t that the USC Trojans will meet the Texas Longhorns for the national championship; that merely fulfills a foregone conclusion after yesterday’s results. No, the big news is the return of Notre Dame to the ranks of the major bowls with an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl to face the Ohio State Buckeyes on New Years Day:
In his rookie season as Notre Dame coach, Weis has the Fighting Irish (9-2) in the BCS for the first time since they lost the 2001 Fiesta Bowl 41-9 to Oregon State. They automatically qualified for a spot by finishing sixth in the BCS standings.
“I think it’s a great tribute to our coaching staff and our players that they were able to turn it around that fast,” Weis said.
While some complain that Notre Dame has bulked up this season on a weak schedule and gets too much credit for a 34-31 loss to USC, the Fighting Irish are college football’s top drawing card.
The only people who don’t appear to appreciate this matchup are Oregon fans, who complain that they have one more win than Notre Dame and Ohio State and should get a BCS matchup. They should talk to the writers who rank the teams — or better yet, take their complaints to the NCAA. They have yet to explain why Division III teams have a playoff system but their top division somehow can’t survive with a rational post-season system. In my opinion, the NCAA could easily build a 16-team or 32-team playoff system that allows for all division champs and a limited number of at-large teams to play in the bowl games as rotated by the BCS now.
The other conflicted person is Hugh Hewitt, whose beloved Buckeyes play against his favorite Fighting Irish. I knew that this dissonance would drive Hugh crazy, and indeed it has. He has adopted the Jerry Brown Fan Rationing System, only rooting for the Irish on even-numbered days, while cheering for the Buckeyes on odd-numbered days. That means on January 1, he will be backing Ohio State instead of God’s Own Team. He may forgive Hugh, but the Irish will make Hugh serve a difficult penance on New Years Day.
Step back from the brink, Hugh. We’re here to help.