New Year's Six And The Big 12 Are The Latest Bowl Projections For Notre Dame

Bryan Driskell

Notre Dame improved to 8-2 on the season after it smacked down Navy, and that 52-20 victory was certainly a resume builder for the Irish. The weekend saw a shake up on a number of levels, and while it hasn't changed anyone's mind on what bowl Notre Dame will play in, it has changed who the Irish will play.

Sporting News national college football writer Bill Bender has Notre Dame projected to play in a New Year's Six bowl game. Bender has Notre Dame set to play Memphis, who he projects to get the Group of 5 spot in the major bowls. Like Bender, I believe this is a much more realistic spot for Notre Dame than most.

Notre Dame and Memphis have never played on the football field.

ESPN writers Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach both project Notre Dame to the Camping World Bowl, which is the game they've had the Irish for the last couple of weeks. What has changed is the opponent, at least for Bonagura.

Schlabach still has Notre Dame slated to play Oklahoma State, who improved to 7-3 this past weekend after a 31-13 victory over Kansas.

Bonagura has Notre Dame slated to play Iowa State. Last week, Bonagura had the Irish projected to play Texas, but the Cyclones beat the Longhorns (23-21) this weekend with a last-second field goal. With that win, Iowa State (6-4) has jumped ahead of Texas in the Big 12 and into the Camping World Bowl against the Irish.

Notre Dame and Iowa State have never played on the football field.

I will have more on the New Year's Six possibility for Notre Dame after the release of this week's College Football Playoff rankings.

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Comments (7)
No. 1-4

Technically, we would not need to jump Florida to make a NY6 bowl game. The only SEC team we would need to jump/stay ahead of would be Auburn. As long as Auburn does not upset Alabama and finishes 8-4, that will not be an issue.

As far as B1G teams, we would need to jump Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Since we lost the head-to-head against Michigan, we would need them to pick up a third loss; Ohio State beating Michigan would take care of that. Since Wisconsin beat Michigan, we would also need them to pick up a third loss. Since Minnesota played a weak non-conference schedule, and would likely only have three wins against FBS teams with winning records (Penn State, Illinois, Georgia Southern), we probably would only need them to pick up a second loss. If Wisconsin beats Minnesota in the final week that would give Minnesota their second loss; Wisconsin would then play in the B1G Championship Game, where they could pick up their third loss to Ohio State. On top of that, Penn State losing to Ohio State in convincing fashion would be a bonus here since it would take some of the impressiveness out of the win Minnesota had against Penn State.

With the Pac-12 and Big 12, the situation is a bit more fluid, and depends on what the four playoff teams are in the final ranking. Let’s assume that an undefeated Clemson team, an undefeated Ohio State team, and LSU (undefeated or one loss) are the three locks for the playoffs. This leaves one remaining spot for either: Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma or Baylor. Personally, I think even if Baylor or Utah were to win the Pac-12 or Big 12 respectively, their weak non-conference schedules and middling opponents within their own conferences would not be a strong enough resume to get in over a one loss Alabama team who lost to LSU by 5 points and already has a strong reputation built up (whether fair or not). Now if Utah and/or Baylor were to win their conference championship games, they would take up slots in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl respectively, pushing Oregon and Oklahoma into at-large bids, which would most definitely keep Notre Dame out of a NY6 bowl game. Keeping all of this in mind, we want Oregon to beat Utah and Oklahoma to beat Baylor for a second time. Texas beating Baylor this weekend would also be beneficial for our chances.

Now back to the SEC. We really want Georgia to beat LSU in the SEC Championship Game. LSU is a lock whether they win or not because their resume is the strongest in the country. Georgia getting in would guarantee that two SEC teams get in the playoffs. Alabama would then play in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma, and Oregon would play in the Rose Bowl against the second highest ranked B1G team. Florida would play in the Orange Bowl then, opening up a slot in the Cotton Bowl for Notre Dame to face Memphis or Cincinnati possibly.

At the same time, we want our own strength of schedule to be strong. Virginia Tech beating Pittsburgh and Virginia beating Liberty, guarantees that those teams finish 9-3 and 8-4, and one plays for the ACC Championship. Navy beating SMU, Houston, and Army to finish 10-2, Louisville beating Syracuse and Kentucky to finish 8-4, and USC beating UCLA to finish 8-4 gives Notre Dame five quality wins. Also, if Utah were to lose either to Arizona or Colorado, then USC would have the chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game since they own the tie-breaker after winning the head-to-head against Utah.


1st criteria - They have to finish in the top 10. If they finish 11th they will not qualify


Can someone give me a quick rundown for how ND can make Cotton? Who specifically has to lose? Please dont say everyone in front of them haha


I look forward to reading your thoughts because I don’t see us jumping Florida to get that NY6 slot against the G5 champ.