Fighting Irish could get shut out of title game
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A National Championship game without an unbeaten Notre Dame could very well happen.
Notre Dame needed LSU to topple Alabama, something it would have done had Tigers coach Les Miles stayed out of his own way.
Alabama's improbable rally in the toughest place to play in the country led to something even harder to fathom: the real possibility that Notre Dame could go undefeated while playing a difficult schedule and get shut out of the BCS title game.
The Irish (9-0) are fourth in the latest BCS standings, and winning out doesn't guarantee anything to the program that has tradition, a national following and its own network TV contract.
Notre Dame's remaining schedule includes games against Boston College and Wake Forest as well as a finale against a Southern Cal team that may have four losses and be unranked before it hosts the Irish.
The reality is Notre Dame almost certainly needs help from two teams if it is to play for its first national championship since 1988.
And it's not like any of the three teams in front of Notre Dame in the BCS rankings have daunting paths to South Florida, which will host the BCS title game. Consider:
Alabama: The defending national champions have to think destiny wears crimson and white after quarterback A.J. McCarron led a late touchdown drive that stunned LSU, which had dominated the second half. Alabama will likely have to get past a top-five Georgia team in the SEC title game, but it also has remaining games against Western Carolina and woeful Auburn.
Kansas State: The Wildcats' only remaining ranked opponent is Texas, and they get the Longhorns at home. Road games at TCU and Baylor should be manageable, particularly if quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein is healthy, and Kansas State does not have to play in a conference championship game.
Oregon: The Ducks are the closest to Notre Dame in BCS standings but they have a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Irish. Oregon finishes the season with three ranked opponents assuming it makes the Pac 12 title game, and it's hard to see any defense this side of Alabama's slowing down the Ducks.
The good news for Notre Dame is even when fans and pundits were howling for a playoff, the national championship picture usually sorted itself out through attrition and upsets.
Rare was the year when an undefeated team from a major conference didn't get an opportunity to play for the national championship. That history is a reminder that a lot can still happen before the BCS title-game teams are set.
The Irish may need a little luck to be one of those teams. They just have to hope they didn't use all of theirs up against Pitt last Saturday.
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Linebacker Harrison coming along slowly since return to Steelers
- Pirates acquire infielder from Indians, designate Axford, Gomez for assignment
- Steelers notebook: Shazier returns just in time
- Project 15206 finds goals for rain
- Komen acceptance of drilling-linked money raises ire
- Man arrested after showing up at hospital with gunshot wounds
- Freeport man accused of having child pornography images
- Fábregas: Cancer-stricken California woman chooses to plan her death
- Penguins look to buck shots, goals trend
- Foundation arranges free maid service for women with cancer
- Lower Burrell man, awaiting trial, jailed for shoplifting