ND, Miami renew rivalry
Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2010
They may be a pair of 7-5 football teams that you cannot find in the national rankings, but there is a buzz about Notre Dame and Miami in El Paso, Texas.
It took just 21 hours for the Sun Bowl (50,426) to sell out, making it the fastest in the bowl’s 77-year history.
Part of it comes from the fact that although this is the 24th meeting between the two schools, it is the first time the Fighting Irish and the Hurricanes have met on the football field since 1990.
Two of college football’s elite teams, both of whom have fallen on hard times of late, have provided fans with some memorable confrontations over the years.
Prior to the pairing of the two in the Sun Bowl, Notre Dame and Miami were scheduled to renew their rivalry in 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Notre Dame, which holds a 15-7-1 advantage over the Hurricanes in the all-time series, will be meeting Miami in a bowl game for the first time.
The Fighting Irish, who have won three straight games, are led by first-year coach Brian Kelly. Kelly will be looking to become the first Notre Dame coach to win his inaugural bowl game.
Miami will be led by interim coach Jeff Stoutland, who replaced Randy Shannon following the regular season.
Both coaches said at the traditional Sun Bowl press conference earlier this month that fans have been waiting to see the Fighting Irish and Hurricanes square off for some time.
“I think people, obviously, are harkening back to the times of Lou Holtz and Jimmy Johnson and those great teams that had great players,” Kelly said.
Stoutland added that is had been 20 years since the two met on the gridiron and people “wanted this to happen for a long time.”
Miami, losers of its final two games this season, will be making its 36th appearance in a bowl game. The Hurricanes are 19-16. Miami played in the Champs Sports Bowl in 2009.
Notre Dame will be making its 30th trip to a bowl game. The Irish are 14-15. Notre Dame last appeared in the 2008 Hawaii Bowl.
The Fighting Irish’s 49-21 win over Hawii snapped a nine-game losing streak in bowl games. Before the 2008 victory, Notre Dame last won a bowl game in 1994 when it defeated Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
Notre Dame faced the toughest schedule in the country in 2010. The Fighting Irish opponents went 80-43 (.650). Texas A&M was second at .647.
The Sun Bowl can be seen live on CBS beginning at 2:15 p.m. on Friday.