With the regular season over, we're left to speculate which teams will fill out the College Football Playoff and Bowl spots
How about the Florida State Seminoles vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl? That's a matchup that is sure to get some interest, even though it isn't part of the College Football Playoff.
Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune seems to think the Irish are on track for a berth in the Fiesta Bowl:
Both teams are done with their regular seasons and have no conference championship coming up. If the Michigan State Spartans beat the Iowa Hawkeyes by three touchdowns or more—which feels like a real possibility—the Hawkeyes could fall behind both Notre Dame and Florida State in the CFP rankings.
That would likely elevate the Ohio State Buckeyes into a Rose Bowl matchup with the Stanford Cardinal—assuming the latter beats the USC Trojans on Saturday.
That leaves the Fiesta Bowl wide open for the Fighting Irish and the Seminoles.
|2016 Fiesta Bowl: Schedule and Matchup Information|
|Date||Location||Time (ET) and TV||Matchup|
|Jan. 1||Glendale, Ariz.||1 p.m. (ESPN)||At-Large vs. At-Large|
Had Sean Maguire not replaced Notre Dame-transfer Everett Golson as the 'Noles' starting quarterback the last two weeks, this matchup would really carry some appeal.
Golson led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game in 2012. He had some academic eligibility issues that cost him his 2013 season in South Bend. In 2014, Golson struggled to play at the level he had in 2012 and subsequently lost his starting job in last year's Music City Bowl.
He transferred to Florida State in May after graduating from Notre Dame earlier that month.
With Maguire now leading the 'Noles to consecutive wins over Chattanooga and the rival Florida Gators, Golson would probably only play if Maguire were injured, or the game turned into a blowout.
Beyond the quarterback drama, this game would also feature two teams that are awfully talented on both sides of the ball. The 'Noles are currently ranked No. 16 in total defense, while Notre Dame ranks 25th in total offense.
According to CBS Sports' Dane Brugler, two Notre Dame players are tabbed as first-round selections: linebacker Jaylon Smith and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley. Jalen Ramsey of Florida State is pegged as the first defensive back to hear his name called.
With that level of talent, these two schools' rivalry that dates back more than 20 years, this might be the most compelling non-CFP bowl game.
Let's just hope this is the bowl game we're treated to on January 1.