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
|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|
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.
Where does Notre Dame end up?
This poll is closed
Camping World Bowl
College Football Playoff