Brian Kelly is thankful that Notre Dame has bowl options
BY LaMOND POPE Sun-Times Media December 1, 2013 8:11PM
Notre Dame v Stanford
Updated: December 1, 2013 8:27PM
PALO ALTO, Calif. — The Pinstripe Bowl offers the chance to play in the “House that Jeter Built.”
The Poinsettia Bowl means spending time in perfect San Diego weather.
Both are among bowls with open slots.
Notre Dame is weighing its options after finishing the regular season 8-4. Bowl pairings will be announced Sunday.
“We just want to play. For us, we don’t have much [of a] decision about where we’re going,” quarterback Tommy Rees said after the loss at Stanford on Saturday. “We just want to play another game. We’ll get that opportunity. We’re just ready to compete.”
Representatives from the Pinstripe Bowl and the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La., attended Notre Dame games in recent weeks.
Notre Dame doesn’t have specific tie-ins. Once the team lost out on a chance at a BCS game, its bowl choices were thrown for a loop. Notre Dame will have more opportunities beginning next season, thanks to its connection with the ACC.
“There’s going to be some opportunities for us that we’ll just have to sit and evaluate and find out,” coach Brian Kelly said. “There are a lot of schools that obviously still have an opportunity to take some of those spots that are there. We’re in a unique situation. We’re appreciative of any bowl that would take a good, hard look at us.”
Kelly plans on consulting with the seniors while going through the process. Earlier in the week, he said recruiting opportunities wouldn’t factor in where the team lands.
Wide receiver TJ Jones said that meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning.
Where would Jones, one of the team captains, like to go?
“Definitely not to play somewhere where it is snowing,” Jones said.
Senior left tackle Zack Martin, another captain, echoed that sentiment.
“Like most people, don’t want to play in the snow,” Martin said. “But if we play there, we’ll be happy for it.”
The Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 28) has an opening because not enough Big 12 schools qualified for bowls. Notre Dame has a long history of playing in New York. The Irish last played at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 20, 2010, defeating Army.
Army failed to gain bowl eligibility this season, opening up a spot in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 26.
The SEC will likely have two teams in BCS games, causing others in the conference to move up a slot. That creates an opening for the AdvoCare Bowl on Dec. 31. Notre Dame last played in the Independence Bowl in 1997.
“I don’t really care,” senior linebacker Dan Fox said of the destination for his final game. “I just want to win.”