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.
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.