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Irish feel they are BCS worthy
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The circumstances surrounding Notre Dame's (8-2) trip to Southern Cal are similar to its previous three trips there. The Irish head west needing one more victory to secure a major bowl berth.

After the last two trips, they returned to South Bend with losses. They hope to come back on Saturday with a victory.

Bob Davie
Bob Davie's squad faces a monster of a schedule this season.
In 1994, the Irish returned with a tie and still got a Fiesta Bowl berth despite a 6-4-1 record. In 1996, the Irish decided not to go to a bowl in Lou Holtz's final year following an 8-3 finish. In 1998, they went 9-2 and settled for the Gator Bowl.

"We've been out there three straight times when there have been BCS implications and we haven't been able to win. But I'm looking forward to this one," coach Bob Davie said Sunday.

"We're going to go out there and play hard and whatever happens, happens. I'll let everyone else worry about how much money is involved in this game or what bowl game is involved in this game. I'm not going to have any time to worry about that."

Davie said even though several other teams likely will be higher than the Irish in the BCS standings, he thinks the Irish should get a BCS berth if they beat the Trojans (5-6) because of all they have accomplished.

"The story of this football team is a remarkable story. I don't know if there's a better story out there in college football," he said.

Davie mentioned top-ranked Oklahoma as another big story, but pointed out that they started the season ranked. Oklahoma started the season at No. 19 while the Irish began the season out of the Top 25 for the first time since 1986.

"I don't know if we were in the top 30," Davie said. "Losing your quarterback and losing arguably your best defensive player and your captain. The way we've won games with the kicking game and other things, I think we're a pretty attractive team. So darn right, I think we ought to go."

The Irish are ranked No. 11 for a third straight week following their 45-17 victory over Rutgers in a sloppily played game.

Among the other teams expected to be vying for BCS at-large berths are Virginia Tech, Nebraska, which beat the Irish in overtime, Oregon State and Kansas State.

But Kansas State is well aware that the team higher in the standings isn't always the team invited. Last year, the Wildcats finished sixth and went to the Holiday Bowl. The year before that, they finished third in the BCS standings and went to the Alamo Bowl.

The Wildcats are hurt by a poor history, a weak non-conference schedule and by living in a state with a small population. Notre Dame has a storied past, a history of tough schedules, a nationwide following and its TV ratings are up this season.

"I think there are a bunch of people who would like to have us," Davie said.

2000-2001 Bowl Results bowl projections