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Notre Dame Football: Clearing up the bowl situation for the Fighting Irish

Walter Sobchak wants you to go bowling.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

At 5-2 the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have less than 1% chance to make the college football playoff — but you already knew that. Looking forward now, the bowl picture for Notre Dame has narrowed, but may also be a bit confusing with a month to go.

Here is a very brief explanation of what can still happen.

Cotton Bowl

If Notre Dame can win out, they should be selected by the Cotton Bowl to play the best Group of Five team. Right now, that team is the SMU Mustangs but the Appalachian State Mountaineers are also making a strong case (among a few others).

Camping World Bowl

This is the most predicted game for the Irish right now. This game would place Notre Dame up against the #3 team in the Big 12 — which could be one of a handful of teams right now. As of today, it’s a toss up between the Texas Longhorns and the Iowa State Cyclones.

Gator Bowl

There have been a few recent predictions for this game. Notre Dame can technically bypass the Camping World Bowl for the Gator if they like. The Gator has priority over the Music City Bowl this year in terms of ACC schools (which is what ND is considered to be in these things). The opponent would be an SEC school such as the Auburn Tigers, Texas A&M Aggies, and the Florida Gators are possibilities — but there is very little clarity yet from the SEC.

Disaster Mode

If Notre Dame were to lose 2 or 3 more games to end the season, they could be forced into several other options:

  • Belk Bowl vs SEC
  • Pinstripe Bowl vs Big 10
  • Sun Bowl vs Pac 12

Obviously, more needs to happen for these to become a real option — so let’s just hope it doesn’t get to that.

Apocalypse Mode

Why even go?

  • Military Bowl vs American
  • Independence Bowl vs SEC
  • Quick Lane Bowl vs Big 10

Why not the Orange Bowl?

I was confused and wrong about Notre Dame’s affiliation with the Orange Bowl. I had believed over the years that Notre Dame could be the ACC school in the Orange if the ACC Champion made the CFB Playoff and was at least one game within the next best school. Notre Dame is joined at the hip with the ACC in all other bowls — but not this one. Notre Dame would have to be picked over a Big 10 or SEC school, and that won’t happen this year.