Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Irish a Favorite for BCS Officials

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Irish a Favorite for BCS Officials

Article excerpt

Some BCS officials are almost as giddy about the prospect of Notre Dame playing in one of their bowls games as Fighting Irish fans are.

"I tend to think right now, there's a lot to be played, but I don't see how they could avoid being in a BCS game somewhere," Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton said.

"They have four games left. Anything can happen, but they're looking so strong. Even if they only win two of those, certainly if they win three or four, they will be in a BCS game."

The fourth-ranked Fighting Irish (8-0) are third in the BCS standings heading into their game against Pitt (4-4) on Saturday, where they are 16.5-point favorites. They likely will be favored against Boston College (2-6) and Wake Forest (4-4) before the season finale at Southern California (6-2)

Officials with the Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls all say they will consider the Irish under the right circumstances, primarily that they meet the minimum requirements of nine victories and being among the top 14 teams in the final BCS standings.

Notre Dame would prefer not being an at-large team, hoping instead to finish in the top two and earn a shot at the school's first national championship since 1988 in the BCS title game Jan. 7 in Miami.

Irish players said it would be hard to believe they wouldn't get a shot if they remain undefeated. If it happens, though, they said they would have to accept it.

"I can't do anything about it," linebacker Carlo Calabrese said. "I just have to go out and perform in whatever bowl game we're in."

Coach Brian Kelly said he's not paying attention to all the BCS possibilities, saying he's leaving that to others.

Kelly, who narrowly missed qualifying for the national championship game while at Cincinnati in 2009, said he doesn't plan to try to lobby for the Irish. "I got out of politics once. …

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