Notre Dame found out its bowl fate on Sunday. After West Virginia and UConn both won Saturday night, all signs pointed to a Sun Bowl match-up with Miami. Sunday night the Sun Bowl made it official by matching the two teams up for the first time in 20 years.
The Sun Bowl had openly discussed their desire for a Notre Dame-Miami pairing throughout last week. When the Champs Sports Bowl passed on the Irish in favor of West Virginia, they got their wish and they are clearly very excited.
“After waiting 77 years, the stars have finally lined up for us. I have spent 40 years as a volunteer and I would have never thought I would see the day that Notre Dame and Miami would play in the Sun Bowl.”
John Folmer, Sun Bowl Selection Chairman
By heading to the Sun Bowl instead of the Champs Bowl, Notre Dame loses out on an opportunity to play in Orlando, but at the same time, the Irish will be playing on New Year’s Eve instead of December 28. For Notre Dame fans not making the trip, a Friday afternoon game on a day in which many people will already have off of work certainly is more attractive than a Tuesday night game.
Notre Dame also ends up with a much more intriguing match-up in El Paso. While it would have been interesting to see what Notre Dame could have done against NC State and their linebackers coach Jon Tenuta, playing Miami will allow for a lot of nostalgia for Irish fans.
The Irish nearly ended up in San Diego in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska, but Washington pulled off a last minute win in the Apple Cup over Washington State to secure the Pac 10′s 3rd bowl spot.
It will be interesting to see if Miami hires a new head coach before the bowl game and if that coach will coach the Hurricanes when the two teams meet. Randy Shannon was fired shortly after Miami’s regular season finale, a loss to South Florida, and after what appeared to be a strong push to hire Jon Gruden, Miami still sits without a head coach.
The last time Notre Dame and Miami met was back in 1990 when the Irish knocked off the Hurricanes in South Bend. The two schools announced over the summer, however, that they had agreed to a 3-game series with a game in Solider Field in Chicago in 2012 and then a home and home series in 2016-2017.