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Big East failings could boost Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame would be eligible for a bowl
if it wins its last two games and there is a spot left to fill.

The NCAA notified the school Tuesday that the Irish (4-6) would
be eligible at 6-6 if there aren't enough Big East teams with at
least seven wins to fill the league's five bowl berths, said Lisa
Mushett, associate sports information director.

NCAA rules allow a team that plays 12 games and wins six to play
in a bowl if it is a member of a conference that has agreements
with bowls. Notre Dame is an independent, but is part of the Big
East bowl alignment.

The Irish still need help to get to a bowl, though. Three Big
East teams already have at least seven wins -- Miami (8-2),
Pittsburgh (7-3) and Virginia Tech (8-2) -- leaving two bowl spots.

West Virginia (6-4) has two games left, at Syracuse (5-4) and at
Temple (1-9). Boston College (6-5) is at Virginia Tech (8-2).
Syracuse plays West Virginia, Rutgers (4-6) and then the Irish on
Dec. 6.

If two of those three teams win a seventh game, Notre Dame is
out. If not, Notre Dame must win at Stanford (4-5) and at Syracuse
to have a chance at a bowl.

The Big East champion gets a Bowl Championship Series berth. The
other bowls in the Big East alignment are the Gator Bowl in
Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 1, the Insight Bowl at Phoenix on Dec.
26, the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 27 and
the San Francisco Bowl on Dec. 31.