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Notre Dame Football: What is the Camping World Bowl?

Time to start getting real about Notre Dame’s likely bowl scenario.

Camping World Bowl - West Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish start to resign themselves to the reality of a Camping World Bowl destination, perhaps we should take a closer look at the bowl game — just so we know what we’re getting into over the next month. I mean, maybe it will be cathartic in way [ducks].

The Camping World Bowl

This bowl game has been around for almost 30 years now. It’s not a mature bowl game — but it ain’t a kid either. It, of course, has gone through many names over the years and was originally the Blockbuster Bowl. The first ever bowl game was in 1990 and featured the #6 Florida State Seminoles against the #7 Penn State Nittany Lions.

Notre Dame vs. Florida State Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The bowl game, as well as its sponsor, peaked in 1990.

  • Blockbuster Bowl (1990–1993)
  • Carquest Bowl (1994–1997)
  • MicronPC Bowl (1998)
  • Bowl (1999–2000)
  • Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl (2001)
  • Mazda Tangerine Bowl (2002–2003)
  • Champs Sports Bowl (2004–2011)
  • Russell Athletic Bowl (2012–2016)
  • Camping World Bowl (2017 - Present)

Notre Dame has played in this game before back in 2011 when it was the Russell Athletic Bowl. The unranked Irish lost to the #25 Seminoles — and the game was abysmal to watch (18-14).

This week, while we’re all lamenting about that 1993 loss to the Boston College Eagles on senior day, just know that the Eagles ended up in this very game (then called the Carquest Bowl) after the season. The #15 ranked BC team blasted the Virginia Cavaliers 31-13 on January 1, 1994 — the very same day as Notre Dame’s last major bowl win (Cotton Bowl vs the Texas A&M Aggies).

The current conference tie-in agreement for the game (ACC vs Big 12) has been in place since the 2014 season). The current version of this game (Camping World Bowl) has boasted top 25 matchups in each of its two years.

Why are we here?

Why are the Irish projected to play in the Camping World Bowl by just about everyone? Simply put: they got their soaking wet asses handed to them by the Michigan Wolverines. There, of course, are other things that are a little more complex than not showing up in Ann Arbor.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Notre Dame at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Because of the way the playoffs and the bowl agreements have come to this particular cycle, the Irish only had chances at the Cotton Bowl vs the best out of the Group of 5, or in the Orange Bowl vs the ACC. The Cotton is a straight up at-large bid, but a bid for the Orange would have required Notre Dame to be ranked higher than the next SEC or Big 10 team not in the playoff.

While the goal over the last few weeks has been for the Irish to climb high enough in the rankings to earn a bid to the Cotton Bowl, the playoff committee hasn’t moved them up a single spot since its initial rankings. And now — weeks after we closed the book on the Orange Bowl — there is a weird thing happening in the ACC. Dennis Dodd wrote about how the Orange Bowl could pass on the ACC altogether if the Clemson Tigers make the playoffs and no other ACC team is ranked in the top 25. Currently — there are no other teams in the ACC ranked in the top 25 OH MY.

Say it to me slowly so I understand

The most common bowl projection for Notre Dame right now is the Camping World Bowl against Oklahoma State. There are also projections that have the Irish playing in this game against a different Big 12 school like the Iowa State Cyclones.

No one is going to care — except if Notre Dame were to lose the game, and then it will be plastered all over the news.

BTW... it’s a nooner on ABC.

Not selling it

The purpose of this post wasn’t to sell you all on the awesomeness of the Camping World Bowl. If that’s what you took from this article, then you have me all screwed up. The purpose here, was to start talking real about what’s ahead for Notre Dame and this season.

In a way it’s somewhat fitting. This team is not as good as the 2017 team, and that year they ended up in the “better looking cousin” bowl — also known as the Citrus Bowl. So, the moral of this story is that when you lose to the Georgia Bulldogs, there is no way to escape the blackhole pull of Orlando.

It’s science.