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Marcus Freeman Era At Notre Dame Will Begin With A Chance To Slay A Dragon

Notre Dame will begin the Marcus Freeman era in a New Year's Six Bowl, which has been a nemesis for decades

If Marcus Freeman wants to become a champion at Notre Dame there are some dragons he and the program must slay. One of those dragons is Notre Dame's now 26-year drought without a New Year's Six Bowl victory. 

Notre Dame will play in either the Fiesta Bowl or the Peach Bowl, both of which are considered part of the "major bowls" the Irish have struggled in for so many years. Don't be surprised if the Irish in fact end up in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State, but that's for a later discussion.

The last time Notre Dame won a major bowl game was the Cotton Bowl that followed the 1993 season. Notre Dame beat Texas A&M by a 24-21 score. That was an Aggie team that had three first round picks on the roster.

Notre Dame has since lost eight straight "major bowls", and also lost the BCS national championship game following the 2012 season. Four of those eight big bowl losses were in the Fiesta Bowl, which is also the site of Notre Dame's last national championship. A place that began with wonderful memories has become a place of horrors for the Irish, who lost their last four Fiesta Bowl opportunities by an average score of 40-20.

If that is in fact where Notre Dame will play it means Freeman gets an immediate opportunity to overcome one of the program's biggest obstacles. It is something that Brian Kelly could not accomplish in his previous 11 seasons that included three major bowls and a national title game appearance. The Irish never came within 16 points of an opponent in those four games under Kelly.

For Freeman, getting a chance to slay that dragon in his first career game is exactly the kind of defining victory that can send he and his program into the offseason with a tremendous amount of energy. If Oklahoma State ends up being the opponent it would also mean the Irish get that shot to end the bowl streak against a Top 10 opponent, which has been yet another stumbling block for the program.

For Notre Dame fans, a victory would mean no more discussion about the big bowl game losing streak. It means one more slain dragon between the Irish and the ultimate destination, a national championship.

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