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Notre Dame Football: 2014 Bowl Game Possibilities

Aren't you just dying to know?

This could be ours.
This could be ours.
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

It's around this time of year when I lay in bed tossing and turning unable to go to sleep. My mind is racing and I can't turn it off. I'm sure I'm not the only Irish fan going through this in early December. There's only one question that can bring about so much frustration and anxiety at night.

"Where is Notre Dame going bowling this year?"

They have rules and regulations to determine how the Fighting Irish will be selected according to the new agreement with the ACC. If you are here to understand these rules you came to the wrong place. I will be doing no such thing. Waste of time, I say.

However, I did just enough to listen to those in the know* in order to present the handful of strong possibilities for Notre Dame's bowling needs.

*Those who actually did the research.

The soothsayers of bowl mysteries are saying you can go ahead and lock up Clemson attending the Russell Athletic Bowl at the renovated Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. With Florida State likely headed to the 4-team playoff and Georgia Tech likely headed to the Orange Bowl this leaves Notre Dame in a mix with Louisville, Duke, Boston College, and NC State for the other 5 "Tier 1" bowl games with ACC tie ins.

Yes, they are calling these Tier 1 games I am not making this up.


Sun Bowl


Date: December 27th

Kickoff: 2:00 PM ET

Conference Tie-ins: ACC (No. 3-6) vs. Pac-12 (No. 5)

Location: El Paso, Texas

History: 2010 win over Miami (33-17)

2013 Bag of Swag: Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; Top of the World cap, Majestic fleece pullover; Ogio backpack; coin, Helen of Troy hair dryer

The scene of Brian Kelly's first bowl game at Notre Dame. Could we see the return of "El Churro?"

We want to go to the Sun Bowl because at least the game is on a Saturday. Even before our usual 3:30 PM ET home game start time! We'll also likely be facing an offensively challenged Pac-12 team which at this point let's be honest yes please.

We don't want to go because we were just there 4 years ago, but at least it won't snow this time. Depending on your view-point you may also not want to listen to Verne and Gary on the CBS broadcast. Also, not a big fan of day-time bowl games.

Pinstripe Bowl


Date: December 27th

Kickoff: 4:30 PM ET

Conference Tie-ins: ACC (No. 3-6) vs. Big Ten

Location: Bronx, New York

History: 2013 win over Rutgers (29-16)

2013 Bag of Swag: Variety of New Era products

"Start spreading the news..."

We've got another Saturday game and depending on your perspective it's in a better time slot. I suppose there's some comfort with Yankee Stadium at this point and knowing the crowd will be supportive of the Irish. The opponent is also very likely to bring some punch in terms of filling the stands.

We don't want to go to this bowl because we were just there last year. That is so not cool. Plus it's going to be cold. If bowl games are going to exist--and I'd like to argue for their death--they at least shouldn't be in New York City in late December.

I love NYC but do not want.

Music City Bowl

Music Cty

Date: December 30th

Kickoff: 3:00 PM ET

Conference Tie-ins: ACC (No. 3-6)/Big Ten vs. SEC (No. 3-8)

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

History: Never Played

2013 Bag of Swag: Fossil watch

This logo fits our fan base really well. Financial institution as a sponsor and a non-threatening shade of green? I can just see all the khaki and light sweaters flocking to Tennessee. What a lovely evening. But seriously what a terrible logo. How does the Music City Bowl get away with something so stale?

We want to go here because Nashville is a fun city and it's a bowl game the Irish have never experienced in the past.

However, a 3:00 PM ET kickoff on a Tuesday stinks. There's also the chance of playing a good SEC team that could completely overwhelm the injured Irish defense.

Belk Bowl


Date: December 30th

Kickoff: 6:45 PM ET

Conference Tie-ins: ACC (No. 3-6) vs. SEC (No. 3-8)

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

History: Never Played

2013 Bag of Swag: Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch

Pretty much the Music City Bowl but in a less entertaining city with a better time slot.

We want this bowl if it brings a more interesting matchup than the Music City game. I suppose the program would like to play somewhere outside of ACC territory where so many games will be played in the future. So this location is probably not the best.

TaxSlayer Bowl


Date: January 2nd

Kickoff: 3:20 PM ET

Conference Tie-ins: ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC (No. 3-8)

Location: Jacksonville, Florida

History: 1976 win over Penn State (20-9), 1998 loss to Georgia Tech (35-28), 2002 loss to NC State (28-6)

2013 Bag of Swag: Fossil watch; Dome hat; Mercury Luggage Seward Trunk luggage set; football, Jostens ring

According to the bowl mystery translators there is very little chance that Notre Dame will be playing in this bowl game, formerly known as the Gator Bowl. Too bad as this would give the Irish the most time to practice and prepare. But, this bowl is most likely going to be buried in the January 1st playoff game avalanche of reaction anyway.


Fox Sports: Notre Dame vs. LSU (Music City Bowl)

CBS Sports: Notre Dame vs. Tennessee (Belk Bowl)

Mark Sclabach (ESPN): Notre Dame vs. Utah (Sun Bowl)

Brett McMurphy (ESPN): Notre Dame vs. Missouri (Belk Bowl)

SB Nation: Notre Dame vs. Penn State (Pinstripe Bowl)

Sporting News: Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M (Belk Bowl)

Phil Steele: Notre Dame vs. Utah (Sun Bowl)

Sports Illustrated: Notre Dame vs. Penn State (Pinstripe Bowl)

Yahoo: Notre Dame vs. Georgia (Belk Bowl)

My personal pick would be to play Tennessee in the Belk Bowl. I'd rather not have a game right after Christmas or during the late afternoon. Facing off against the Vols would be a good matchup, I think. Both teams are really young, we have some history between the programs, there's the Brian Kelly-Butch Jones connection, and more.