Quite a few different places have taken aim at guessing where the Irish end up this postseason. Both Frank Vitovitch at UHND.com and Eric Hansen at the South Bend Tribune have done some good digging on the Irish opportunities and came to pretty similar conclusions.
Both Eric and Frank have the Irish deciding between the presumed destination, the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, the Sun Bowl in El Paso, the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, and the Las Vegas Bowl (duh, in Sin City). Payouts for the bowl games are as follows:
Champs Sports Bowl — $2.13 million
Holiday Bowl — $2 million
Sun Bowl — $1.9 million
Las Vegas Bowl — $1 million
While everybody seems to be on board with the Champs Sports Bowl, if I’m the players (and as a member of the media) sign me up for the chance to play in San Diego on the 30th of December. Unfortunately, if Washington wins the Apple Cup this weekend (or in less likelihood, if Oregon State beats Oregon), they’ll get the call first. But that doesn’t mean that Holiday Bowl executives aren’t considering the Irish.
“Of course, we hope we can have a Pac-10 team, because that’s who our affilitation is with,” executive director Bruce Binkowski told Hansen. “But if we’re out shopping and we’re a free agent, we’d certainly be interested in Notre Dame.”
If Notre Dame is looking to get the most out of their bowl payout, the Sun Bowl presents some interesting options and has heavy interest in Notre Dame, hopefully setting up a juicy match-up between the Irish and the Miami Hurricanes.
“Everybody’s hoping we’ll get Notre Dame, but we’re in a backup position to the Champs Bowl,” Sun Bowl chairman John Folmer said. “If we got Notre Dame, I don’t think there are any ifs, ands, or buts that we’d take Miami despite all the things that have happened.”
The plotlines in that bowl game would be plentiful, especially if the apple of many Notre Dame fans’ eye, Jon Gruden, is willing to take the Miami head coaching job. Still, even with the recent arrest of this guy, there are some negatives associated with a team trip to El Paso. I’ve got a feeling that while block hotel rates might come a little cheaper, the Irish would be willing to spend their holiday season somewhere else if the opportunity presented itself.