The Mamerican Broadcasting Co. and the Sugar Bowl came out the big winners yesterday when Notre Dame defeated Alabama and immediately accepted an invitation to play top-ranked Georgia, the Southeastern Conference champion, in a possible match for the national championship on New Year's Day.
But Alabama came up with a $1 million consolation prize when it accepted a bid to the Cotton Bowl to face Southwest Conference champion Baylor. With the upset by Notre Dame, Florida State, which had been expected to go to the Cotton if Alabama won, ended up in the Orange Bowl New Year's night against the Big Eight Conference champion, either Nebraska or Oklahoma.
On a "bid day" that saw few upsets, the selections for the other bowls came as no great surprise, with Maryland accepting an offer to play Florida in the Tangerine Bowl Dec. 20 at Orlando, Fla., and Navy taking a bid to face Houston in the Garden State Bowl at East Rutherford, N.J., on Dec. 14.
The Rose Bowl pairing will be determined Saturday when Ohio State and Michigan meet for the Big Ten championship. The winner will play Washington, a 20-10 winner yesterday over Southern California to earn the right to represent the Pacific-10, minus five ineligibles.
Both the Nebraska-Oklahoma and Michigan-Ohio State losers are sure of bids, too.
The Fiesta Bowl tapped the Big Ten runner-up to play Penn State in that dec. 26 game at Tempe, Ariz. The Sun Bowl will take the Oklahoma-Nebraska loser to face Mississippi State Dec. 27 at El Paso, Tex.
South Carolina and its Heisman Trophy candidate, George Rogers, got the nod for the Gator Bowl, to play Pitt. The Panthers waited until they were home after drubbing Army, 45-7, yesterday before officially accepting.
Only one other Atlantic Coast Conference team had -- or was expected to get -- a bid as of early last night.North Carolina, as anticipated, will meet Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl Dec. 31 in Houston.
Virginia Tech received its first bowl bid since Maryland Coach Jerry Claiborne was the head man at Blacksburg in 1966. The Hokies will play in the Jan. 2 Peach Bowl against a team to be named. LSU had been considered a shoe-in for a Peach Bowl bid before losing, 55-31, to Mississippi State yesterday.
Two losers -- Purdue and Missouri -- accepted bids to play each other in the Liberty Bowl Dec. 27 at Memphis, after failing to beat teams in their own conferences yesterday. Michigan beat Purdue and Oklahoma defeated Missouri.
Tulane was tendered a bid to the Hall of Fame Bowl Dec. 27 at Birmingham, Ala., after the Green Wave beat Memphis State last night. Tulane will face Arkansas of the Southwest Conference.
SMU, despite losing to Texas Tech, was offered and accepted a bid to play the Western Athletic Conference champion in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 19 at San Diego. Brigham Young is now the favorite for the other berth after routing Colorado State yesterday. However, Colorado State or Utah can still win the title if BYU falters.