Tell it on the mountain
W. Virginia coach angered by Notre Dame's bowl bidPosted: Sunday December 08, 2002 6:36 PM
Updated: Sunday December 08, 2002 11:51 PM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez lashed out at Notre Dame on Sunday after the Irish earned a spot in the Gator Bowl and denied the Mountaineers a New Year's Day game.
No. 15 West Virginia (9-3) will play unranked Virginia (8-4) in the Continental Tire Bowl on Dec. 28 in Charlotte, N.C.
The Irish got shut out of the Bowl Championship Series after losing to Southern California a week earlier, so Gator Bowl officials chose Notre Dame rather than West Virginia.
The Mountaineers normally would have gone to the Gator as the second-place team in the Big East.
The No. 11 Irish (10-2) settled for an invitation to play No. 17 North Carolina State (10-3) on Jan. 1 with a $1.6 million payout.
The Continental Tire Bowl has a $750,000 payout, although West Virginia will instead receive $1.85 million from the Big East as its bowl share for finishing second.
With Continental Tire Bowl executive director Ken Haines listening on a conference call, Rodriguez said something needs to be changed about the way the Big East's bowl selections are made.
"I don't know if slighted is the right word, but I do question sometimes what is Notre Dame's affiliation with our league," Rodriguez said.
Notre Dame, an independent in football but a Big East member in nearly every other sport, was added to the league's portion of the BCS mix after the 1997 season, when the league went 0-4 in bowl games. Miami was ineligible because of probation that year.
"All the athletic directors agreed to this," Big East spokesman Rob Carolla said.
The contract, which was recently renewed, runs through 2005.
"I know this agreement was made earlier," Rodriguez said. "I'm just a football coach and our players are just players, but we don't understand some of the political things. I don't understand why Notre Dame is getting the best of both worlds.
"I think the Big East is a great league and we can stand on our own. In my opinion, Notre Dame either needs to get in or get out."
The Big East has four ranked teams and qualified five teams for bowls this year.
Top-ranked Miami will play Ohio State for the BCS national title in the Fiesta Bowl; No. 21 Virginia Tech will meet Air Force in the San Francisco Bowl on Dec. 31; No. 24 Pittsburgh will play in the Insight Bowl Dec. 26 against Oregon State; and Boston College will play Toledo in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26.
Notre Dame went 2-1 against Big East teams this season, beating Pittsburgh and Rutgers, and losing to Boston College.
"It would have been interesting if they had been in the Big East to see if they'd have finished ahead of us," Rodriguez said. "I'm not sure if they can finish in second place in the Big East. They would have faced three of the top teams in Miami, Virginia Tech and West Virginia."
Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White made no apologies for the school's involvement in the Big East-BCS agreement.
"It certainly seems to make sense for Notre Dame or we wouldn't
have participated," White said Sunday night. "I think we've all
entered into a relationship that I think all parties have been well
served to this point."