Champs Sports Bowl

Monday, 29 November 2010

Champs Sports Bowl
Champs Sports Bowl - The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5) are likely on their way to the Champs Sports Bowl after defeating the USC Trojans (7-5) yesterday with a final box score of 20-16.

"We brought the fight back in the Fighting Irish," Kelly said.

This is Notre Dame's first winning season since 2006.

That said, the Irish's postseason fate seemed to clear up fairly significantly with the 20-16 win over the Trojans. Asked if anything is near settled with the Irish's bowl fate, Swarbrick flatly said, "Absolutely not."

"For us, right now, we're going to enjoy the victory and we're going to let our athletic director do his job," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. Your team is relying on you, and coach did a great job keeping me focused."

USC's lone touchdown "drive" was a four-play, two-yard sequence after a Rees fumble in which it ultimately punched in a score on a Mitch Mustain quarterback sneak. "My heart dropped," said Irish safety Harrison Smith, who was beat on the play. Said Mustain: "It's part of the game, you drop balls. The absurdity of Notre Dame's bowl situation was underscored by the fact that both Boise State's upset loss to Nevada and a game between two hyphenated Louisiana schools on Saturday (UL-Monroe and UL-Lafayette) actually tinkered with their bowl picture.

Win, and the Irish were logically headed to the Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 28 in Orlando to play an ACC team.

Now imagine the same scenario with an 8-4 or 9-3 Irish team. Once the Irish play the Champs Sports chip, they cannot return there during the length of the contract, which runs through the 2013 season.

The leftover bowls most likely to have been in play for a 6-6 Irish team or with a Champ Sports snub when regular-season play ends next weekend:

# The Texas Bowl, Dec. 29 at Houston vs. a Big 12 team.

# The Sun Bowl, Dec. 31 at El Paso, Texas vs. an ACC team.

# The Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 22 at Las Vegas against a Mountain West Conference team, most likely a Utah team the Irish already have played.

# The BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 8 at Birmingham, Ala., against a Big East team.

A Houston upset against Texas Tech late Saturday night would close the door on the Texas Bowl. Coaching numbers

Brian Kelly on Saturday night became the 15th first-year Notre Dame head coach to walk the sidelines in the all-time series with USC.

Coming into the game Irish first-year head coaches were 7-7 in their first meeting with USC. Notre Dame grad and former Irish assistant coach Mike Haywood may be changing that trend.

Behind closed doors our goal this season was to be a bowl-eligible football team and we've far exceeded that. Buffalo is coached by former Brian Kelly right-hand man, Jeff Quinn.

Even with the late victory, which meant the Football Bowl Subdivision would be devoid of any winless teams this season. Akron recorded a school-record for losses. After recording a 12-0 regular season under Kelly and almost getting a chance to play for the national title, Cincinnati clinched bowl-ineligibility Saturday with its seventh loss of the season, 38-17, to Connecticut on Saturday.

# Notre Dame came into Saturday night's game with USC with a higher national ranking in three of the four major defensive categories (pass-efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense).

The last time the Irish were better in even one defensive category heading into the USC game was 2002. # Notre Dame won the coin toss Saturday night, but changed its strategy. The Irish had received the football in each of their first 11 games.

# Game captains were Floyd and safety Harrison Smith. # Notre Dame ended up playing 10 bowl-eligible teams this season. No team in the FBS played more bowl-eligible teams this season.

# By halftime Notre Dame's defense had extended its streak without allowing an offensive touchdown to 13 straight quarters.

# Notre Dame's 16-play scoring drive in the first half was its longest since a 19-play drive against UCLA in 2006.

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