No matter what bowl game Notre Dame earns a bid to, it will represent a huge draw. Looking ahead to the conclusion of the regular season and conference championship games, it seems they could be headed to the Rose Bowl.
As the BCS standings are currently, the Pac-12 could lose its top team (Oregon) to the BCS Championship Game.
With USC likely locked out of the top spot from the Pac-12, the Rose Bowl needs a marquee team to take their place. They would get first dibs since their top team will likely be the No. 1 team in the nation—assuming Oregon wins out.
Oregon has two tough games remaining on its schedule in No. 13 Stanford and No. 16 Oregon State, but with the way it has been putting points on the board, it doesn't appear that either team could keep pace.
The Ducks are scoring over 60 points per game in their last three games.
Assuming they beat the Cardinal and the Beavers, they would still need to win the Pac-12 championship game. It may be a huge assumption to believe Oregon will finish the season undefeated, but as of now they would be the favorites in all three remaining games.
If that holds true, it opens the door for a non-conventional but highly commercial alternative for the Rose Bowl.
What team would represent a bigger draw than Notre Dame?
None at all.
They would likely face Nebraska in an all midwest matchup. Many like the cross-country duels, but the Cornhuskers and Irish would be intriguing. Two stout defenses with excellent running games that feature mobile quarterbacks.
This game would be a throwback of sorts.
No aerial assaults—as Taylor Martinez and Everett Golson aren't capable of that type of game—just smash mouth football from both sides. Even if the Irish lose to USC in the final game of the regular season, they still seem like the most attractive candidate at 11-1.
They would only have to knock off a lowly Wake Forest team on Saturday to be in position for this scenario.
Here are a few other exciting potential bowl games:
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Clemson
What happened to Alabama?
Johnny Manziel—and to a degree Zach Mettenberger—proved if you want to have a shot at beating the Tide, you have to have excellent quarterback play.
Before Manziel's incredibly effective and efficient performance against the Tide, Mettenberger's great performance nearly led LSU pass the Tide the week before.
Aaron Murray has the ability to produce the same type of performance for the Bulldogs, and he'll lead his team to a victory over the Tide in the SEC title game. Georgia's defense is among the best in the nation, and they have the playmakers and athletes to defeat the Tide.
Once that happens, the Bulldogs will be in position to take the Sugar Bowl bid.
With a little bit of chaos in front of them, they could be a dark horse to gain a national championship berth.
Clemson is playing well, and a Tajh Boyd vs. Murray matchup would be exciting to see. Georgia's front seven, led by Jarvis Jones and Johnathan Jenkins, makes running the ball a chore.
Andre Ellington and Boyd would be facing their biggest test of the season if this game comes to fruition.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M
Getting a chance to see Manziel on another major stage like this would be awesome. Even if he doesn't catch Collin Klein in the Heisman voting this year, every remaining game this season is planting a Heisman seed for 2013.
Success against another talented defense and a once ballyhooed college quarterback in Landry Jones would only help Johnny Football's star shine.
A&M is one of the most dangerous teams in the nation right now. Manziel's play inspired his defense to rise to the occasion in Tuscaloosa; continuous development in that vein is a scary thought for their future opponents.
The rest of the college football world should feel fortunate that they had the two early slip-ups against Florida and LSU.
If this matchup happens, Manziel will best Jones and the Sooners.
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