Notre Dame has played in a Rose Bowl before.
It was 1925 and Knute Rockne was coaching, but it takes little more than common knowledge of BCS mechanics to know this history may repeat itself in January.
Oregon and Kansas State finishing 1-2 in the final BCS standings and a dearth of eligible Pac-12 teams means the Irish may parade to Pasadena – a possibility the game’s chief administrative officer deemed “tremendous” on Tuesday.
“Our priority is a Pac-12/Big Ten game,” Kevin Ash said. “Having said that, if we don’t get a Pac-12/Big Ten game, then we want the best game possible.
“And by doing that, we would want the national exposure (the Irish) have, the following they have, the history they have. All those things parallel a lot of the Rose Bowl tradition. That’s very attractive.”
Of course, Notre Dame would rather grab a title-game spot. But a Kansas State-Oregon championship would precipitate openings in the Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl. If the Wildcats are No. 1, the Fiesta chooses a replacement first. If the Ducks are, the Rose plucks first, and a herd of three-loss teams might leave it no viable Pac-12 option.
Notre Dame may even trump a Pac-12 team in some instances, such as the BCS enlarging the pool of available teams because of an SEC logjam atop the standings. Anything less than a top-14 Pac-12 team, and the Irish may win out.
“If the pool is enlarged and it’s a different scenario, then the group has to take a look at, what is the better game?” Ash said.
Even the prospect of a Michigan-Notre Dame rematch isn’t off-putting, though Ash said that hasn’t been discussed.
“I’m not sure that would matter to the committee,” Ash said. “I’m sure if that was the scenario that would play out, we’d take a serious look at it.”