College Football expert Phil Steele updated his bowl predictions today. Steele now projects the Irish in the Fiesta Bowl against UCLA. The Fiesta Bowl takes place on December 31st at 5:00 p.m. The Fiesta Bowl currently sits in the rotation of College Football Playoff games. However, the Fiesta Bowl is not apart of the rotation this year.
Notre Dame last played the Bruins in 2007. Despite Notre Dame having a terrible season, the Irish defeated UCLA, 20-6, in the Rose Bowl. The year prior, Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija downed the Bruins in the last minute of the contest. The pass from Quinn to Samardzija was one of the best moments of Brady Quinn’s career. The video is posted below:
An at-large selection to the Fiesta Bowl would likely mean that Notre Dame went 9-3 or 10-2. Notre Dame could easily drop games to Michigan, Stanford, Florida State, Arizona and USC. So, the Fighting Irish will have to play great to make to a 9-3 or 10-2.
If the Irish land in the Fiesta Bowl, it would be the third time this century. Notre Dame dropped Fiesta Bowls in 2001 and 2006 to Oregon State and Ohio State respectively. Notre Dame’s most memorable Fiesta Bowl occurred in 1988 when the Irish won the National Championship. The Irish defeated West Virginia, 34-21. Landing in the Fiesta Bowl certainly would have a lot of name recognition for Notre Dame fans.