11:00 update: Scarlet Scuttlebutt is reporting that the Big East does not plan on letting this happen. Now Rutgers needs to do its part and win next Thursday.
The latest bowl update:
A Rutgers win also will mean that the Sun Bowl — the Big East's runner-up spot now that the Gator Bowl plans on taking a team from the Big 12 — has no choice but to take a Big East team over Notre Dame.
That Big East team, according to a league official familiar with the Sun Bowl's thinking, will be West Virginia.
A high-ranking bowl official told the Gannett New Jersey that the Meineke will invite Rutgers in this scenario.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl, scheduled for Dec. 27 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, will match up teams from the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference. Should North Carolina State win at home over Miami on Saturday, the Wolfpack would be the favorites to be the Meineke's ACC representative, multiple officials said.
If N.C. State loses, as many as five ACC teams could be in play, including Clemson, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Virginia. According to a bowl official, the Meineke wouldn't be adverse to pitting Rutgers and North Carolina — a rematch of a game won handily by the Tar Heels in early September.
In the latter scenario, the Meineke would take travel-proven West Virginia over Rutgers, a bowl official said.
The same bowl official said the Meineke is only eyeing West Virginia and Rutgers from the Big East. Pittsburgh and Connecticut are not options, the bowl official said. Should Notre Dame take the Sun and West Virgina take the Meineke, a 7-5 Rutgers team would go to either the PapaJohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., or to a bowl not affiliated with the Big East.
However, last night there was a disquieting report out of El Paso.
Sun Bowl selection committee chairman John Folmer said he has worked out a deal that will bring Notre Dame to El Paso on December 31. And having the Irish in El Paso will mean big things for the Sun City.
"It would be an amazing opportunity just to give El Paso a chance to see what it's like to go to a Notre Dame football game," said Chris Avila, president of the Notre Dame Club of El Paso.
In football terms, basically, Notre Dame has driven the length of the field. It is now fourth and one at the one-yard line and all they have to do is punch it in and Notre Dame is coming to the Sun Bowl.
"When we went into the arrangement with the Big East, we did it solely so we'd have an opportunity for Notre Dame. Period," Folmer said.
He said he is working out a deal with the Big East that should send Notre Dame here, as long as the Irish lose to 29-point favorite USC on Saturday.
"Based on all the rules and the way the NCAA changes are and the things in the handbook, we're gonna have Notre Dame," Folmer said.
IF this report is true, and it's a very big IF, as it contradicts what Nick Carparelli told the St. Petersburg Times over the weekend, one thing is clear. I, and every Rutgers fan, are finished with the Big East. Bob Mulcahy needs to be on the phone with Jim Delaney stat to negotiate a soft landing in the Big Ten. I was as firm an advocate of keeping the Big East strong and viable as anyone. If this were to happen, if Mike Tranghese, in his last act, were to sell West Virginia and Rutgers up the river, it would be the death knell for any future trust in the Big East conference.
RU alum Eddie Jordan being fired as the head coach of the NBA's Washington Wizards is sure to start the rumor mill churning again.