It's rarely a good thing when a team has to play three quarterbacks in one season, and for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, things under center certainly didn't go as planned. But as the Irish prepare to take on the Florida State Seminoles in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl, they may take solace in a few things. For one, despite cycling through three different quarterbacks, their season didn't run off the rails, and though their 8-4 record is below preseason expectations, it's by no means a disaster. Secondly, in facing FSU, the Irish will get to test two of those quarterbacks— sophomore Tommy Rees and freshman Andrew Hendrix— against one of the best defenses in the country, as Brian Kelly looks ahead to next year.
According to the Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton, Brian Kelly plans to play both Rees and Hendrix in the bowl game, and though by no means will either quarterback win the 2012 starting job based on their bowl performance, a notably impressive performance can certainly help the stock of either. In last year's bowl game, Notre Dame defeated the Miami Hurricanes in the Hyundai Sun Bowl 30-13 with the help of Rees, who threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Though Rees eventually lost the race for the starting job for this season to Dayne Crist, his play at the end of 2010, capped by his impressive performance in the Sun Bowl, likely factored into Brian Kelly's decision to hand him the keys at halftime of this year's opening game vs. South Florida.
As for Crist, who has been granted his release by Notre Dame and will transfer for his final year of eligibility, Kelly said that he wasn't sure if his ex-starting quarterback would participate in bowl practices or travel with the team.
For more Notre Dame check out One Foot Down, SB Nation's Fighting Irish blog. For more FSU, visit Tomahawk Nation, SB Nation's Seminoles blog. For more on the bowl season, stay tuned to SB Nation's 2011 college football bowl game bids coverage. Also, be sure to visit our many college football blogs.