SI’s Latest Bowl Projection for Notre Dame Would Be a Problem… For Me

Notre Dame’s loss to Michigan didn’t just knock them out of the Playoffs; it knocked them out of the New Year’s 6 Bowl Games as well according to most current projections.  Now a lot can change between now and the end of the year, and if Notre Dame wins out, the NY6 is still very much in play.  That said, if Sports Illustrated’s latest bowl projection for Notre Dame ends up happening, I could be in trouble, you guys.  SI is projecting the Gator Bowl against Texas A&M – my wife’s alma mater – after the Michigan debacle.

Again, a lot can happen in a few months, and bowl projections right now are as fluid as most referees’ definition of pass interference throughout a game, but that could be quite the problem for me personally.

We knew this day would come eventually with Notre Dame and Texas A&M scheduled to play in 2024 and 2025, but that is five years from now – not just over two months.  We’ve only been married a few months, and this could be our first major test.

The odds of any bowl projection at this point being accurate is slim to none, but the idea of a Gator Bowl matchup with the Aggies would be pretty interesting.  The two schools haven’t played since 2001 during Bob Davie’s final season at Notre Dame, but the two schools have an interesting bowl game history with the two playing in back to back Cotton Bowls in the early ’90s.

If you read my five things I liked column from this past weekend’s game, you know I just went to Kyle Field in College Station for the first time and had a great time.  Marrying into an Aggie family, I’ve even developed an appreciation for the Aggies.  I own Texas A&M gear.  I hadn’t owned gear for any team other than Notre Dame in my entire life outside of a brief period when I was like five when I went through a Penn State phase.  That wasn’t my fault though – I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the heart of Penn State country.

Football wise there would be some interesting storylines in a Notre Dame – A&M matchup.  Most notably, there’s the Mike Elko connection.  It would be interesting facing him in a bowl game two years after he allegedly backed out of an agreement to stay at Notre Dame for more money at A&M.

It would be the second time this year Notre Dame faced a former defensive coordinator after shredding Brian Vangorder earlier this month.  There would have been another such instance when New Mexico visited, but Bob Davie’s health prevented him from making the trip (don’t forget he was a DC at Notre Damme before being named head coach).

For my sake, let’s hope this projection doesn’t come to fruition.  Such a matchup would be some unneeded stress that the first year of a marriage doesn’t need.  And god forbid it happens at Notre Dame were to lose.  I’m just not ready for that scenario in my life right now.

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  1. 1988 x-Bowl? I’m class of ’89 (National Champions, ’88) and experienced the resurrection on ND Championship Football after the debacle of Gerry Faust. (who IS a fine man) Timmy Brown won the ’87 Heisman. The Irish played (e)aTm(e) in some New Year’s bowl that year. And A&M beat us. The name Jackie Sheryl comes to mind. (A&M head coach?) Whatever – A&M beat us pretty good, I think I remember. (20-y later) I have no personal affiliation with A&M, Just adding a memory of mine. Cheers!

  2. Well, I wouldn’t worry yet. A hundred things probably still have to go right for that to occur. A ND loss, Texas A&M loss….or win out and other teams lose.

    But if they do meet in a bowl game…since you’re newly married. If ND wins don’t gloat of course. And if A&M wins…well let her gloat and just put on a brave face. A happy wife is a happy life.

    A Penn State friend of mine and I were talking about how great it would be for a ND-PSU bowl game (since there seems to be no chance of any future games at this point in the regular season). Unfortunately I don’t think there are many scenarios for that to work out (I guess there are some lower tier bowls that maybe it would work–but both teams would probably have to lose a couple games this year for that). I’m not sure how many Big 10-ACC major bowl games there are.

  3. This edition of ND football has shown neither timely offense adjustments in scheme and play-calling nor outcomes that would characterize this team as ‘road warriors’. And I reject the notion that talent is the issue.
    Re: bowl games and the rest of November- expect wrinkles that will increase pressure on Book and stacking the LOS- two strategies that have worked well vs. Book and ND. How (or will) ND game plans adjust?
    Any bowl game insures the participants extra practices to prepare – not exactly a setting ND has thrived in these last two decades or so- and ND going on the road in whatever bowl game wherever vs. a quality well-prepared opponent warns of another less than encouraging scenario that will lead to a season ending bowl victory.
    I remember when Ara with his extra bowl practices would devise schemes like his “mirror D’ (vs. Alabama, was it?) and his aggressive attack of Texas’ run game in the Cotton Bowl fifty years ago? For your sake, Frank, (and ours), I don’t look forward to playing Texas A&M (with Elko as their DC) in the Gator Bowl this year- but with NDs history in post-season games, I don’t expect much of anything but the same schemes vs. whatever well prepared quality opponent, and hearing NDs recurring mantra that the lopsided loss was because “we didn’t execute well enough!”
    I hope I’m very wrong, but some elements of surprise and unpredictability would be a welcome relief as NDs season winds down, and especially with available extra practice time for the bowl game.

    1. MTA: Ara’s “mirror” defense was in the second Cotton Bowl against Texas, snapping their two year winning streak and denying them a second straight NC. The “mirror” was essentially a man to man defense where each of Texas’s four wishbone backs had a specific Notre Dame defender assigned to him. In addition to that, Notre Dame sometimes used the more conventional “Bone” defense, which required every defender to “stay at home” defending his assigned area…essentially a zone defense. Together, they stopped Texas’s offense dead in its tracks…which was a brand new experience for Coach DR.

      I do not remember what defense ARA used against the Bear. However, Dan Devine used his “ZERO COVERAGE” defense against the Bear’s wishbone in 1980 @ALABAMA…a super high risk defense that the Bear sniffed out and correctly called pass plays against it on three occasions (we were not using it on every play, so that was not so easy to do)…but BAMA’s QB could not connect to any of resulting wide open receivers with nobody between them and the goal line! It’s certainly fair to say we were lucky, but it was not unearned luck, as Shakespeare would say. Those were the days, my friends.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. BGC , good memories of ND/Texas. Another one of course is the ’78 Cotton Bowl. Golic & D put the hurt on Heisman winner Earl Campbell. I’ve seen replays of this game , mainly to enjoy the hits Golic put on Campbell. Which also remind me of Bear’s Mike Singletary hitting L.A Rams all-pro running back on the frozen tundra of Soldiers Field. I forget the Ram running back’s name.

      2. Southside, a couple of notes.

        Golic had a LOT of hits, but the most significant play was when Ross Browner stuck out a giant paw on Texas’s first pitchout and then recovered the fumble.

        I really thought the game was over at that point. Texas, Campbell, Ham Jam and Lam and the great (ahem)
        Outland Trophy winner Brad Shearer had never seen anything like that.

        And I think the Ram back you are looking for is Eric Dickerson, the former SMU great and NFL Hall of Famer.

      3. BGC
        It was Texas when Ara concocted his mirror D’. Thanks for that sports joy memory.
        Southside and duranko
        Yes, it was – the same Eric Dickerson the Bears’ decimated in the ’85 playoffs en route to their super-bowl shuffling championship.
        Back in the day when I got sports joy as a Bears and ND fanatic. Oh happy day!

      4. Duranko, MTA , thanks for refreshing my memory of ’78 Cotton Bowl and ’85 Bears. It’s my opinion — but think the D was best ever for Irish–went on to win NC. The Chicago Bears defense –best I’ve ever seen. Shutout the Giants and Rams in playoffs–went on to win Super Bowl. Well , time to move on — those were the days.

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