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Notre Dame Football: College Football Writers Predict Irish Will Play Penn State in Cotton Bowl

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These two teams haven’t played in a decade. Will they clash again in Jerry World?

Penn State Nittany Lions v Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Penn State Nittany Lions could renew a grudge match that has laid dormant for a decade, if the majority of college football writers projecting bowl games are actually right.

Thirteen of 17 analysts say that the Irish will be the Cotton Bowl’s selection for its Dec. 29 game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Of those 13, seven have identified the Nittany Lions as the Irish’s likeliest opponent.

Notre Dame and Penn State have played 19 previous times, with both sides winning nine games. (The 1925 game was a scoreless tie.) The teams have even played each other in a bowl game before — Dan Devine’s 1976 squad dropped Joe Paterno’s team, 20-9, in the Gator Bowl. In the 14 meetings since, the Nittany Lions have prevailed nine times.

As far as rooting interests go, this would be particularly tough for The Solid Verbal’s co-host, Ty Hildenbrandt. Hildenbrandt is a 2004 graduate of Penn State, but is also a lifelong Irish fan.

Here’s where everyone else sees the Irish — who have one game remaining on their schedule — ending up this winter:

Notre Dame’s Projected Bowl Destinations After Week 12

Writer Publication Bowl Location Opponent Date Link
Writer Publication Bowl Location Opponent Date Link
Jerry Palm CBS Sports Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
Kyle Bonagura ESPN Orange Miami Gardens, Fla. Clemson Dec. 30 Link
David Hale ESPN Orange Miami Gardens, Fla. Clemson Dec. 30 Link
* Erick Smith USA Today Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
* Nick Bromberg Yahoo Fiesta Glendale, Arizona Washington State Dec. 30 Link
Eric Single Sports illustrated Cotton Arlington, Texas Auburn Dec. 29 Link
Jason Kirk SB Nation Cotton Arlington, Texas Wisconsin Dec. 29 Link
* Bill Bender Sporting News Cotton Arlington, Texas Ohio State Dec. 29 Link
College Football News Staff CollegeFootballNews.com Cotton Arlington, Texas TCU Dec. 29 Link
* Stewart Mandel The Athletic Citrus Orlando, Fla. Mississippi State Jan. 1 Link
David McCracken Bleacher Report Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
Brant Parsons Orlando Sentinel Cotton Arlington, Texas Auburn Dec. 29 Link
Dustin Schutte Saturday Tradition Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
Bryan Fischer College Football Talk Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
Brad Crawford 247 Sports Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
Alec Shirkey Diehards Cotton Arlington, Texas Penn State Dec. 29 Link
College Sports Madness Staff CollegeSportsMadness.com Cotton Arlington, Texas USC Dec. 29 Link
* Writer picked before Saturday’s games.

At present, The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel is the only bowl prognosticator who does not see the Irish ending up in a New Year’s Six bowl — although, funny enough, the game he picked would happen on New Year’s Day. Mandel updates his bowl projections on Tuesdays, so we’ll learn then if the Irish’s victory over Navy — or, perhaps more importantly, Oklahoma State’s loss — has changed his calculus.

As for the other potential matchups:

  • The Irish have never played the Auburn Tigers or the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
  • They’re 1-2 against the Clemson Tigers, with the last game being played (in a monsoon!) in 2015.
  • The Irish are 8-6-2 against the Wisconsin Badgers, who they have not played since 1964, but are on the 2020 and 2021 schedules.
  • The Irish are 2-0 against the Washington State Cougars, with the two teams last meeting in the San Antonio in 2009.
  • The Irish are 45-36-5 against their biggest rival, the USC Trojans. Notre Dame and USC last played on Oct. 21, a 49-14 win by the Irish.

Poll

Where does Notre Dame end up?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Cotton Bowl
    (479 votes)
  • 6%
    Fiesta Bowl
    (51 votes)
  • 9%
    Orange Bowl
    (71 votes)
  • 4%
    Citrus Bowl
    (32 votes)
  • 3%
    Camping World Bowl
    (29 votes)
  • 11%
    College Football Playoff
    (90 votes)
752 votes total Vote Now