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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

How about a Boise-TCU matchup?

That's a Fiesta Bowl possibility and one that could slow talk of a BCS monopoly.

November 12, 2009|CHRIS DUFRESNE | ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

We've heard some crazy projected Bowl Championship Series matchups, and some could even happen.

One requires USC's beating Stanford and finishing 10-2, and a page-flip through the BCS manual.

With the potential of five schools being undefeated, this much is clear: It is in the vital interests of the BCS that undefeated Texas Christian and Boise State earn BCS bowl berths.

The BCS might be stupid, but could it be a monopoly if TCU and Boise State earn half of the four at-large bids? There is even a good chance that, if Texas slips up, TCU could play for the national title.

"The argument about the BCS being a monopoly is specious anyway," BCS spokesman Bill Hancock said Wednesday.

"Any time a 'non-automatic qualifier' gets in, it is weakened . . . if there's two teams, just double it."

For conspirators hoping the ridiculousness of five undefeated schools would be enough to crash the BCS system, it already happened in 2004 with USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah and Boise State -- and the BCS limped on.

For those making bowl projections this year, examine the selection process: If it's No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Texas in the BCS title game, the Sugar Bowl gets the first choice to replace its anchor and would no doubt take Alabama.

The Fiesta Bowl then gets to replace Texas, but there may be no second Big 12 school eligible. If USC is 10-2, would the Fiesta take the Trojans or No. 3 TCU at 12-0?

I'm guessing TCU.

After that, the selection order goes: Orange, Fiesta, Sugar. Would the Orange pass on undefeated Cincinnati to play the Atlantic Coast Conference champion to take two-loss USC?

Let's say, though, the Orange takes Cincinnati, which would leave the Sugar to match USC against Alabama.

The Fiesta picks last, and could make Boise State against TCU -- a matchup of undefeated top-five teams -- or pick from the pool of at-large candidates.

A lot depends on how many teams are eligible and/or viable: Would 10-2 Iowa, Penn State, Pittsburgh or Miami mean better business for the Fiesta than Boise?

Not this year.

If USC loses once more, the Trojans are done and TCU and Boise become virtual BCS locks.

BCS bowl executives looking to get the upper hand on antitrust Orrin Hatch need to rubber stamp TCU and Boise State even if it irks a BCS commissioner trying to lobby a second team.

Crisis (again?) at Notre Dame

This is the week to watch Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis twist where the three rivers meet in Pittsburgh.

Despite all the bluster, the program appears back at Bob Davie square one.

Notre Dame fired Davie after he went 5-6 in 2001. The school hired George O'Leary, who resigned five days later, after admitting he lied on his resume, and then hired Tyrone Willingham, who was fired after three years for going 21-15, then lost Utah Coach Urban Meyer to Florida and settled for former student Weis, who faces a career-decider when the suddenly 6-3 Irish play at suddenly No. 8 Pittsburgh.

When Weis got to South Bend after calling plays for Tom Brady in New England, he told the good people: "You are what you are, folks, and right now you're a 6-5 football team."

If Notre Dame loses at Pitt, the Irish will drop to 35-25 under Weis, the same record Davie had when he was canned.

The prevailing thought was that Weis needed to win "nine in '09" and get Notre Dame back to a BCS game. Notre Dame can finish 9-3 but the BCS dream is over, so what now?

Beating Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Stanford would give pause to letting Weis go, but anything less might give the high priests the trigger finger to go after Cincinnati's Brian Kelly.

Florida beat Notre Dame to Meyer, who is closing in on national title No. 3, so Notre Dame wouldn't want to let something like that happen again.

Perils (not really) of Pete, and other notes

* Two years after 41-point underdog Stanford shocked USC at the Coliseum, the Cardinal returns as . . . the better team?

USC has won 47 of its last 48 games at home, but Stanford was the "one."

Trojans Coach Pete Carroll probably was being a little snarky on this week's Pac-10 media call: "We'll just do the best we can, struggle our way through it and hope to slow them down some."

* Check out this week's "salary disparity" game: Troy at Arkansas, thanks to annual coaches' compensation figures provided by USA Today: Troy Coach Larry Blakeney takes his $320,899 base salary into Fayetteville on Saturday to challenge Bobby Petrino's annual paycheck of $2.85 million. Take the Razorbacks and the decimal points.

* Salary game of next week: Mario Cristobal of Florida International ($403,000) at the Swamp against Florida's Meyer ($4 million, minus $30,000 fine from the SEC.)

* Forget the war between the Pacific 10 and Southeastern conferences. The best league going right now is the defunct Southwest Conference: Texas (9-0), Texas Christian (9-0), Houston (8-1), Texas Tech (6-3), Texas A&M (5-4), Southern Methodist (5-4), Arkansas (5-4), Baylor (4-5), Rice (0-9).

Too bad the SWC let all that cheating ruin a good thing.

* A Run for the Rose. The winner of Iowa at Ohio State earns the Rose Bowl bid for the Big Ten and does one other strange thing: It renders BCS meaningless Ohio State's game at Michigan on Nov. 21.

It was only three years ago that the Buckeyes and Wolverines met as Nos. 1 and 2 in Columbus.

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/DufresneLATimes

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