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Friday at 4: Information for future reference — 2017 bowl schedule

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I don’t remember much from the AP Physics course I took senior year of high school. Actually, that’s not true. I remember plenty.

I remember slipping a jokester in the front row an old, defunct cell phone so I could call his actual phone to disrupt class and only the broken phone would be confiscated.
I remember removing the supports from a stool so the next person who sat on it would quickly, but gradually, sink to the floor.
I remember creating “excused” absences such that I missed more classes than I attended in the second semester of the year.

Clearly, the teacher did not have much of an impact on me. I do remember one somewhat-academic lesson from him, though. Delivered a decade ago, it is even truer today.

All his tests were painfully thorough. They were also all open-notebook. His thinking: “It is not the person who knows the most information that is smartest. It is the person that knows where and how to find the most information.”

He was and is right. Being able to rattle off a listing of statistics to win bar trivia is one thing, but other than that, finding information is just as valuable a skill nowadays as knowing it in the first place.

As the summer stretches out, some of these posts will seem out of place. Exhibit A: Today’s look at bowl schedules. “Douglas, it’s the middle of May. Notre Dame was 4-8 last season. Why in the world would we care about the dates of bowl games?”

Today, you probably don’t. But it gives me an excuse to ramble right now, and come mid-October, it gives you a resource to check without too much trouble. You’ll head to Google and quickly type in site:irish.nbcsports.com “bowl schedule” “Friday at 4” and this very entry will jump to the top of the search listings. With a quick look at the ACC standings, you will know a 4-3 Notre Dame is on pace for the Pinstripe Bowl, perhaps the Sun Bowl. You can make tentative, yet practical, travel plans accordingly.

This approach gives these postings a practical purpose, lest they quickly devolve into rambling philosophical waxings. Admittedly, there are 79 days until one might expect fall practice to start. Some inane musings very well may be inevitable.


To today’s actual purpose: The Football Bowl Association announced times for nearly all the coming winter’s 40 bowl games. Thanks to its affiliation with the ACC, Notre Dame can step in for an ACC team nearly anywhere in the ACC slate of arrangements. This presents the Irish far more preferable options—for that matter, options at all—than were sometimes available before the partial ACC membership. Most memorably, Notre Dame’s known options heading into the 2013 season boiled down to making a BCS game or hoping the Big 12 did not produce enough bowl-eligible teams so the Irish could fill its slot in the Pinstripe Bowl. That is, indeed, how that season played out.

The pertinent 2017 bowl games, in order of selection choice with a few notes, and their dates/times/locations:

College Football Playoff: Obviously, if an ACC team makes the Playoff, this list begins there. The Rose and Sugar Bowls host semifinals this year, both Jan. 1, at 5 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. ET, respectively. Moving forward, know all times listed are Eastern.

Orange Bowl: If no ACC team lands in the Playoff, its champion will play in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. If an ACC team does head to the playoff, the best available ACC team heads to the Orange Bowl.
Notre Dame could go to the Orange Bowl, but not in lieu of an ACC team. Rather, if Notre Dame is the highest-ranked of the available SEC and Big Ten teams, then the Irish slot in.

Citrus Bowl: Jan. 1, 1 p.m., v. SEC, Orlando, Fla. This is included for thoroughness’s sake, but it only comes into consideration if a Big Ten team heads to the Orange Bowl, such as last season when Michigan went to the Orange Bowl, creating a spot for Louisville in the Citrus Bowl.
Notre Dame can slot in as an “ACC member” here if its overall record is within one of the appropriate ACC member. That standard will hold for all the rest of these bowls, as well.

Camping World Bowl: Dec. 28, 5:15 p.m., v. Big 12, Orlando, Fla., formerly known as the Russell Athletic Bowl and, before that, as the Champ Sports Bowl.

Tier One—These bowl selections are made at the conference office-bowl preference level with overall considerations of repeat appearances, rematches from the 2017 season, etc.
Belk Bowl: Dec. 29, 1 p.m., v. SEC, Charlotte, N.C.
Sun Bowl: Dec. 29, 2 p.m., v. Pac-12, El Paso, Texas
Pinstripe Bowl: Dec. 27, 5:15 p.m., v. Big Ten, New York City
Music City Bowl: Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m., v. SEC, Nashville, Tenn.
In place of the Music City Bowl, the ACC could send a team to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 30 at 12 p.m. to face an SEC opponent, but the way the deal is arranged, the Music City Bowl is more likely in 2017.

Tier Two—Again, these bowl selections are made at the conference office-bowl preference level, but the order presented here does matter as it pertains to the number of bowl-eligible teams the ACC (including Notre Dame) has. If the ACC has only enough teams to fill two of these bowls, for example, they would be the Military and Independence games.
Military Bowl: Dec. 28, 1:30 p.m., v. AAC, Annapolis, Md. Contrary to popular belief, this game does not necessarily have an academy—particularly Navy—as a participant.
Independence Bowl: Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m., v. SEC, Shreveport, La.
QuickLane Bowl: Dec. 26, time TBD, v. Big Ten, Detroit
St. Petersburg Bowl: Dec. 21, 8 p.m., St. Petersburg, Fla. The ACC can send a team to this bowl if it has enough bowl-eligible teams and either the AAC or Conference USA does not.
Birmingham Bowl: Dec. 23, 12 p.m., Birmingham, Ala. Again, this entry is conditional on the ACC having enough bowl-eligible teams and either the AAC or the SEC failing to meet that mark.

For further context: Last season, the ACC produced 11 bowl-eligible teams with one heading to the College Football Playoff. In 2015, the conference yielded nine such teams, again with Clemson heading to the CFP. Notre Dame did not take an ACC bowl spot that year, instead landing as an at-large in the Fiesta Bowl. In 2014, the ACC had 13 bowl-eligible teams when including Notre Dame and 6-7 teams North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Miami. The Irish went to the Music City Bowl at 8-5 in place of teams such as 9-4 Louisville, which instead went to the Belk Bowl.


You’re right, this is all unnecessary. But that ties to the original point. The goal is to help you perhaps help others by making information available. When you are discussing Notre Dame’s bowl prospects with Joe Lite at the bar late in the fourth quarter of the USC game Oct. 21, you can pull this listing up and start debating if a trip to El Paso is worth its proximity to Juarez.

Or make that your conversation starter now. It is 4 p.m. on a Friday, after all.

Don’t ask me how I know this, but there is a Yankees Bar just a five-minute walk from the U.S. border into Juarez.