ESPN.com's Big East blogger Brian Bennett thinks the Champs Sports Bowl may opt for a Big East team over an eligible Notre Dame squad.
Bennett says if West Virginia is available, at 9-3, the Champs Sports Bowl may find them a more attractive fit than a 7-5 Notre Dame team. WVU travels well, but the Irish are a universal draw and also travel well.
But the key is in the fact that the bowl can only select Notre Dame once in its four-year deal with the Big East. Bennett thinks the bowl organizers may opt to wait in one of three other years when Notre Dame could have a better team and be a better draw. While I understand that line of thinking, I'm not so sure it will happen. If Notre Dame is indeed better down the line, say 9-3 one year, they'd be more likely headed to the BCS.
Still, it looks as if the Champs Sports Bowl might be willing to settle on the Big East this season. Pitt would still need help to get to that bowl, though. It would probably need UConn to lose to South Florida and WVU to win so that the Mountaineers get the BCS bid. Then the Panthers would need to hope that the Champs Sports Bowl saves its silver bullet in Notre Dame for another season. Pitt would also still need to be selected over UConn.