Notre Dame Bowl Projection Becoming Clear, The Opponent Is Not
Over the last two weeks the Notre Dame football team needed help to get itself into a New Year’s Six Bowl game, but most of what was needed did not come to fruition.
That means Notre Dame’s bowl destination has become much clearer over the last week, with ESPN, Sporting News and CBS Sports all projecting the Fighting Irish to play in the Camping World Bowl.
While the destination has become more clear, the potential opponent has become murkier. One thing is for sure, and that is if Notre Dame does play in the Camping World Bowl it will face a Big 12 opponent. Which Big 12 opponent the Irish would face remains to be seen.
Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach at ESPN both project Notre Dame to face Oklahoma State (8-4). Bill Bender at Sporting News projects the Irish to face Kansas State (8-4), while Jerry Palm of CBS Sports projects Notre Dame to play Texas (7-5).
The reason for the confusion is the four-way tie that currently exists for the number three spot in the Big 12. Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Iowa State all finished 5-4 in conference play. The Cowboys and Wildcats finished with an 8-4 overall record while the Longhorns and Cyclones finished 7-5.
None of the four teams are ranked in either the AP or Coaches Polls. Oklahoma State dropped out of the polls after its 34-16 home loss to Oklahoma. Kansas State beat Iowa State at home by a 27-17 score, and Texas also ended the season with a win, beating Texas Tech 49-24 on Friday.
Notre Dame has never faced Oklahoma State, Kansas State or Iowa State in football. The Irish own a 9-3 all-time record against Texas after splitting a home-and-home in 2015-16. Notre Dame trounced Texas (38-3) at home to kick off the 2015 season, but the Longhorns got payback a year later, beating the Irish (50-47) in overtime.
Notre Dame and Texas have played each other in a bowl game three times, with all three coming in the Cotton Bowl. Texas beat the Irish in the 1970 Cotton Bowl (21-17), but Notre Dame won in 1971 (24-11) and whipped the Longhorns in the 1978 Cotton Bowl (38-10).
The Camping World Bowl is played on Dec. 28 in Orlando, Fla. It was once known as the Champs Sports Bowl - among other former names - which was the name for the bowl when Notre Dame lost to Florida State (18-14) back in 2011.