This week marks the 30th anniversary of what became known as the Game of the Century — Number One Florida State versus Number Two Notre Dame in a battle of undefeated teams. Notre Dame won the game 31-24 and would be ranked Number 1 afterward. However, the following week Notre Dame lost to Boston College 41-39 (after rallying back from a 38-17 deficit to take a 39-38 lead with a little over a minute left in the game). As a result, Florida State would reclaim the Number One ranking. The Seminoles would go on to defeat undefeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship.
Not long afterward, I began to come up with a “What If” scenario based on the schedules of Notre Dame and Boston College at the end of the regular season, as well as those of their opponents.
First, let’s look at the outcomes for November 20 — the week after Notre Dame defeated Florida State:
- Boston College 41, Notre Dame 39
- Florida State 62, North Carolina State 3
- West Virginia 17, Miami 14
Next, let’s look at the outcomes for November 27:
- West Virginia 17, Boston College 14
- Florida State 33, Florida 21
- Miami 41, Memphis 17
I should point out that Notre Dame’s regular season ended on November 20 against Boston College, and that Memphis was off that same week.
So, suppose the following scenarios occurred:
- On November 20, Miami facing Memphis, Boston College playing West Virginia, and Notre Dame having a bye week.
- On November 27, West Virginia playing Miami, while Notre Dame would square off against Boston College.
I should add that Notre Dame would be playing at Boston College since the Irish usually don’t play home games on Thanksgiving, in which case their game against Navy on October 30 would be at home.
I have wondered if such scenarios would have produced the following results:
- On November 20, Miami defeats Memphis, while Boston College defeats West Virginia (and thus handing the Mountaineers their first loss).
- On November 27, West Virginia defeats Miami, and Notre Dame defeats Boston College.
I am certain that Notre Dame would have defeated Boston College if the Irish had been off the week of November 20, since 1) the Irish would have gotten their victory against Florida State out of their system and thus starting focusing on Boston College, 2) the Irish would have more time to prepare for the game, 3) if Boston College had defeated West Virginia, then they would have been on a winning streak after losing their first two games of the season (and thus not to be taken lightly), and 4) Notre Dame defeated Boston College 54-7 the previous season (in which the Irish handed the Golden Eagles their first loss), so the Golden Eagles would be out for revenge.
At any rate, an undefeated season for the Irish would have resulted in them playing Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship. Then it would be a question of if the Irish would win.
Thus, it’s a “what if?” scenario.