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Notre Dame Could Face Miami in Sun Bowl

We still have to wait a few more days to find out what bowl game Notre Dame will be in this year, but that hasn’t stopped some bowl execs about talking about wanting the Irish.  In fact, the Sun Bowl has talked openly about wanting a Notre Dame-Miami match-up.


Notre Dame and Miami are set to meet for the first time since 1990 in 2012, but could see each other much sooner. (Photo - Icon SMI)

Sun Bowl chairman John Folmer told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “If we got Notre Dame, I don’t think there are any ifs, ands or buts that we’d take Miami despite all the things that have happened.”

For the Sun Bowl to have a chance to select the Irish, either Oregon State or Washington would need to lose this weekend so that the Pac 10 would only have four bowl eligible teams.  The Champs Sports Bowl, which can contractually select Notre Dame once every four years, would also have to pass on the Irish as well – something they may choose to do if West Virginia and UConn both win this weekend.

Even with Notre Dame and Miami both sitting at 7-5 and Miami minus a head coach at this time after firing Randy Shannon, a Notre Dame – Miami match-up in El Paso would certainly give the Sun Bowl a easy game to sell tickets and advertising for.  Even without a head coach at Miami at the moment, a Notre Dame – Miami game would be one of the more interesting match-ups for the Sun Bowl in a while.

Depending on who Miami lands as its next head coach, such a game could make for an even more intriguing contest.  Reports this week have linked Jon Gruden to Miami, but as of Wednesday night most of those reports were suggesting that Gruden was no longer an option.  Gruden was atop a lot of Notre Dame fans’ wish lists – including former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown’s – during the last three coaching searches.  If he were to land in South Beach, Notre Dame fans would have even more interest in the game.

The Irish and Hurricanes had some epic battles in the late 80’s and early 90’s before the series was called off, but Notre Dame and Miami recently agreed to a three game series to be played in 2012 and 2016-2017.  From 1987-1990, Notre Dame and Miami split four games in which each team was ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game including the 1988 #1 vs #4 “Catholics vs. Convicts” classic in South Bend.

While the Sun Bowl remains a strong possibility for the Irish, one potential bowl destination – the Las Vegas Bowl – is no longer an option.  The Las Bowl extended an invitation to Utah on Wednesday.


  1. That would be a great way to end this season. Beating USC and Miami would bring back some of those winning feelings from the 80/90s. I’d also like to see Seantrel Henderson get worked for 4 quarters.. I wonder if his dad is a famous rapper yet. CATHOLICS vs. COACHLESS Bring it on!

  2. Ahh that’s right… Henderson left USC right?

  3. Not to be annoying, but I believe Notre Dame was ranked #4 in the Catholics vs Convicts game.

  4. Unless the Champs Bowl is being run by blind retarded monkeys there is absolutely no way they pass on Notre Dame for their game. In this economy you don’t pass on guaranteed money that the Notre Dame fanbase brings.

  5. Golson commited to the Irish

  6. Forget the Sun Bowl…let’s get in the Holiday Bowl.
    Way more good HS players in SD than EP.

  7. Power run the ball

    I would love to go up against Miami….

    High Profile team which isn’t playing great giving us a nice opportunity for a high profile win and to sway a recruit or two….

    Does anyone know if sentrel can change his mind for a third time and join ND?

    Who would we play in the Holiday Bowl?

  8. Prtb,

    As Lee Corso would say — “Not so fast, my friend!”

    Miami is a terrible match up on paper. This team has a ton of talent. Way more than ND.

    You’re right, Power. They haven’t played well consistently. They’ve played down to the level of their opponents. But if they put it together for the bowl game, I’m just not sure that even our new-found D could stick with their stable of big and fast WRs and RBs. (Miami is 6 deep at WR and 4 deep at RB.) Make no doubt about it, Miami would be up to play its best game of the season against the Irish and try to redeem themselves a bit.

    Frankly, I don’t like this match-up. I’d prefer to play some other ACC or a Big East team (Maryland or W. Virginia, for instance). I think we can hang with them.

    You’re right, Prtb, that a bowl win would be a huge recruiting boost. That’s why I’d like the most favorable match up posible. But in the end ND will not duck Miami or anyone and will have to line up and play its best against whatever team they face in the bowl, Miami included.

  9. What does that matter? Of course it would be nice to have ND and Miami top-ranked again and playing a more meaningful game… But, a matchup against the Hurricanes, no matter the rankings, gets me pumped.

  10. USC has alot more talent on paper than ND as well

  11. Dude
    Where is the confidence. Do you want to see them play St Mary’s. I can not believe that Miami with all they have been through is not a nice challenge for you. We just beat Utah and USC. This is what ND is about. Should we join Conference USA? If we want to get back to the next level again, let’s make a statement. I would say that we are disappointed to play Miami. I would like to see this team get a shot at Boise St or Oklahoma or FSU. Why beat the “U” when they are down.

  12. lucky is right, wtf sfr? we beat usc with possibly the worst qb performance imaginable. the last thing i am worried about is our defense ‘hanging on.’ i would love to blow out a beleaguered u squad, but why not play a better team and see where we truly are at?

    i’ve heard people say champs should not use their once every four years pick of nd and wait for a better nd squad to come around. f*** that, if we are in the bcs the next three years they won’t have that option!


  13. The Champs Bowl is betting ND will be better next year but not BCS-better. I’m betting they’re wrong.

  14. Power run the ball


    Ur explanation of Miami is exactly why I want to play them.

    I think we would be major underdogs and that we could win…

    True Freshmen QB upsets Miami team————
    A miami team will or should always be a faster more talented team on paper then ND. Hence my desire for Standford type offense to Neutralize speed and control ball….

  15. Gentlemen,

    Please re-read my last sentence. Bring it on! Whomever ND plays!

    Having said that, I’ve seen how talented this Miami team is. Way more loaded than SC, David. Not even close. This Miami team may have 2 or 3 1st Rd. draft picks.

    All I’m saying is that I see more favorable match ups out there. But in the end ND will face whomever. If it’s Utah in a rematch, so be it. If it’s Air Force and the option yet again, so be it. If it’s Miami and there talent and speed, so be it.

    How’s that for confidence?!

  16. Lucky,

    Believe it or not, call me crazy, I like ND’s chances better against FSU. FSU likes to pound the ball from the spread and the I. That’s what our D plays best against. Their WR’s don’t impress me. Im with you, Lep: I’d love a shot at FSU, too. It’s a better risk-to-benefits equation for us. BSU and OU are a different story, however. Feel free to disagree.

  17. Not true Atlanta. They MAY want to wait until ND has a better team since they only get ND once every four years. The WVA game and UConn games will make the decision for the Champps Bowl….

  18. Power run the ball

    No more option. Please. I know we think we have option figured out but army is a big difference from airforce or dare i say georgia tech..

  19. Prtb,

    I agree. That’s not a negative comment, just a realistic one about the differences between Navy and AF on the one hand and Army on the other. I’m not saying ND can’t beat AF. They certainly have more talent. But the option is always a special challenge to prepare for. I also just hate the way the game gets shortened when ND plays option teams.

    I still insist that Miami isn’t the best match up. Leonard Hankerson alone (who broke all of Michael Irvin’s season receiving records) would be a nightmare. Imagine our CBs having to cover Michael Floyd for real (not just in practice). That’s what you’re looking at trying to cover Hankerson. Plus they have 4 (!) top flight backs that they rotate to pound the front 7. On D., A. Bailey, Jr. is a nightmare DE and a likely 1st rd. draft pick. I don’t think any of our OTs can handle him one on one, which means you’d have to keep a TE or RB to chip on Bailey or even double team him.

    Like I said to Lucky Lep, I’d like our chances better against FSU (although their big, veteran O line would be a huge concern for our front 7). I’m just not impressed by Ponder or the rest of FSU’s O. I’m also not scared by their young D (although ND’s O is far from terrifying right now). ND’s other potential rivals all have their strengths and weaknesses, Power. But none (except for Oklahoma or BSU, which I’ve read about in some bowl scenarios) are even remotely as talented the “U”.

  20. Although I will certainly enjoy the ND Miami matchup in 2012 and was psyched we signed on for those games, playing Miami now does little for us. Beating a team with an interim coach gets you no street cred. El Paso is hardly a marquee location. Miami has a 7-5 record in the unimpressive ACC. Say what you want about all their talent (for what its worth our recruiting classes have been at least as good if not better these last 4 years) they lost a lot of games this year. Although our offense is not dazzling right now it has gotten the job done when required. I would love to see us play either the best possible team (beating FSU would possibly leave us ranked) or a game in a rich recruiting location. A feel good win over Miami would net little.

  21. Power run the ball

    I want to play a Traditionally good team.. Like a FSU or a Miami. I don’t want to play a Utah/Airforce.. I could care less about Location If the team is going to stink…

  22. kmjackson,

    I think you just said what I’ve been trying to express. Except you’ve done so way more clearly. Thanks!

    It’s not that I don’t think ND can beat Miami or that I’m afraid of playing the “U”. Like you say, I love the fact they’re back on our schedule. But that’s in 2012! By then I’m sure we all hope BK has his players and his system in place.

    The bottom line is I appreciate your risk to benefits analysis, kmjackson. That’s my whole issue with playing the Hurricanes this bowl season.

    On another note. I’ve been following the discussions about the QB depth chart for next season (and beyond). No doubt ND will not be able to keep all these QBs in house for 3 or 4 years. But that’s OK. Survival of the fittest, I say. That may not be a good way to view society, but I think it’s more than acceptable when it comes to putting the best players on the field or building depth.

  23. When will the official announcement be made?

  24. what does that matter its gonna be on TV anyways ?and the sun bowl last year had OK and Stanford look at them now.. if Nd beats the “U” great hype going into next year

  25. This is awesome… I think the Sun Bowl is broadcast on CBS… It will be like old times. Catholics vs. Convicts on CBS

  26. i like this match-up. we should send a signal to all the players in the state of florida and/or being recruited by the florida schools that we are back and will no longer squander talent.

    Go Irish!

  27. A couple of FYI’s to chew on:

    1. Congrats to the ND Women’s Soccer Team, winner of this year’s National
    Championship, the NCAA Soccer Cup. Seeded 4th in their bracket they defeated the previously unbeaten Stanford Cardinal. Hope they get the #1 up over Grace Hall soon. Congrats to the LAdy Irish.

    2. Mike Haywood, former assitant to Charlie Weis and ND Alum, just won the MAC championship. Taking the Miami OH, Red Hawks to an 9-4 record and improving from last year’s 1-11 squad, he’s been able to build with patience and belief. Should be on watch from the Dome, given his relative youth.

    3. ND’s football schedule this year merits a review:

    ND’s opponents combined record: 95-50
    Bowl Eligible opponents: 11
    Top 30 Teams 6/5 AP/USA Today
    Top 25 Teams 3
    Top 10 Teams 2
    So called bad losses Navy 8-3, Tulsa 9-3
    Misc Notes: 7th ranked MSU taken to OT. Stanford’s only loss is to Oregon

  28. Perfect! Minus Brent Pussberger too. Makes it even better.

    CBS has good commentators. Great location. Not too many distractions.

  29. Good post Ghost.The schedule turned out to be very tough.I said before Tulsa that they were a good team that could score pionts.ND gave up the second fewest pionts to Tulsa all year next to SMU, and the defense only gave up one touchdown.To me this was the game the D started playing well, unfortunately the offense and special teams didn’t pull their weight,and a bad call.The match up in the Sun Bowl should be intresting, Miami a very talented team, but an underachieving team.Notre Dame has been playing good football as of late and may be more talented then people give them credit for.I think it will come down to ND having a good coach and a lot oftime to prepare. In Kelly’s career he does well when he has a bye week to prepare now he has almosta month.Miami has an interim coach so I think ND will have an advantage there.This could be good to get even more intrest in the match up in 2012.GO IRISH beat the convicts!!!

  30. I agree with you – I don’t really like this matchup – The problem with the QB thing will be except for Crist we are looking at all freshmen or sophomores next year – someone will leave – Zach Fraser remember him – NO DO NOT LIKE THIS MATCHUP

  31. Zach Frazer was not that good at Uconn. If one leaves so be it. Remeber the other Jones who left and never played QB at Div I.

  32. SteelFanRob,

    I disagree with the problems with the match up. Harris throws 2-3 picks a game. There running attack is so-so and ND has faced better Defenses. Miami is a team on par with ND not better.

  33. Considering the schedule, new system, new coach, massive amounts of injuries to key players I’d say we had a very successful year!

    This year was certainly a roller coaster for me as an Irish fan. High hopes of Kelly, losing games I thought we should have won, watching the team play without intensity…then blowing it up the last 3-4 games…

    I’d say things are genuinely looking positive for the upcoming game and seasons!

  34. Beating Miami always means something, just as beating Notre Dame always means something. Miami’s record is meaningless, this is an exciting match-up and I can’t wait to see it.

  35. Oh – I agree about how good Fraser is not that good – but if someone is number four on the depth chart they will probably leave

  36. jack,

    Never said Miami was unbeatable. No doubt ND should beat the “U”. But don’t underestimate that team’s talent and potential. If they out it all together for one game, it could give us a scare.

    Regardless, jack, it’s a done deal. It’s Miami in the Sun Bowl. Both teams will be focused. It’s a chance for both (esp. Miami) to salvage the season. It’ll be huge for recruitment.

    I believe this might be one of the best, if not the best, non-BCS bowl games.

    Go Irish! Beat the ‘Canes!

  37. I truely believe if the starters were all healthy, with the way the ND defense is playing they would win by 2 td’s. We will have to see what defense shows up b/c that is the key to the game, keeping the score under 25.

  38. Dont know if they will have their schizo (freakishly good one game awesomely bad the next) QB Harris back by the bowl game or not. Just saw where we will get Williams back. They are riding a losing streak and the firing of their head coach. We have the momentum. I’d agree that they have the better athletes on paper….but the USC game has me once again thinking this ND team has the will to win any game. Damn i love college football.

    I have a former classmate that lives in El Paso. Word to my fellow Irish that are going to make the trip. The cheap knick knacks over the bridge in Juarez arent worth the risk of bodily harm.

    GO IRISH! Remember, you can’t spell scum without UM.

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