Dec. 7, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the first time in history, the University of Notre Dame football team is headed to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Notre Dame (7-5) will meet Southeastern Conference representative LSU (8-4) at 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, in 69,143-seat LP Field (home of the NFL Tennessee Titans) in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Irish qualify as a representative of the Atlantic Coast Conference in their first year of an agreement that also involves Notre Dame playing five games per season against ACC opponents (some seasons feature four games, others feature six). This marks the 15th different bowl game in which Notre Dame has participated.
It's the fifth bowl appearance in as many seasons under Irish coach Brian Kelly, the sixth appearance for the Irish in the last seven seasons and their ninth in the last 11 years. Kelly becomes the first coach in Notre Dame history to take teams to bowl games in each of his first five seasons. With a win in the Music City Bowl Kelly would become the first coach in Irish history to win at least eight games in each of his first five seasons in South Bend.
"We're thrilled with the opportunity to face LSU -- one of the preeminent programs in all of college football," said Kelly. "When we worked with the ACC to fashion our agreement, part of the attraction for Notre Dame was the ability to provide our program with this type of matchup. In that vein we're excited to come to Nashville, to play in a bowl in which the University never before has participated and to play in a top-notch NFL venue."
ESPN will televise the game and ESPN Radio also will carry the game. The Notre Dame IMG Football Radio Network also will carry the game.
This marks the 17th annual bowl game played in Nashville--following the American General Music City Bowl in 1998 and 1999, the Music City Bowl in 2000 and 2001, the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in 2002, the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone from 2003 to 2007, the ESPN/Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in 2008 and 2009 and the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl that began in 2010.
The game has consistently featured an SEC affiliation--with the previous 16 games including four appearances by Kentucky, two each by Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt and one each by Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and Tennessee. Recent appearances by ACC teams have featured two appearances by Clemson and one each by Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Wake Forest. Current ACC members Boston College, Syracuse and Virginia Tech also made appearances while members of the BIG EAST Conference. Last year's game produced a 25-17 victory by Ole Miss over Georgia Tech.
For Notre Dame it's a 34th postseason bowl appearance (16-17 record). It's the fifth straight season under Kelly the Irish have played in the postseason--following appearances in the 2010 Sun Bowl, the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl, the 2013 Bowl Championship Series title game and the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl. After its Pinstripe Bowl triumph a year ago against Rutgers, Notre Dame will be looking to post bowl victories in back-to-back seasons for the first time since doing that in three straight seasons from 1991 through 1993.
The Irish have played seven times previously in the Cotton Bowl (following 1969, 1970, 1977, 1978, 1987, 1992 and 1993 seasons), five times in the Orange Bowl (following 1972, 1974, 1989, 1990 and 1995 seasons), four times in the Sugar Bowl (1973, 1980, 1991, 2006), four times in the Fiesta Bowl (1988, 1994, 2000, 2005) and once in the Rose Bowl (1924). Additional bowl appearances sent the Irish to the Gator Bowl (1976, 1998, 2002), Liberty Bowl (1983), Aloha/Hawaii Bowl (1984, 2008), Independence Bowl (1997), Insight Bowl (2004), Sun Bowl (2010), Champs Sports Bowl (2011), BCS Championship Game (2012) and Pinstripe Bowl (2013).
Previous Notre Dame postseason appearances have produced record numbers in terms of both attendance and television ratings:
-- Irish bowl games drew record crowds at Sun-Life Stadium (80,120 for the 2013 BCS Championship Game vs. Alabama), the Sugar Bowl (85,161 in 1973 vs. Alabama), the Champs Sports Bowl (68,305 in 2011 vs. Florida State, tops among games played at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium), the Sun Bowl (54,021 in 2010 vs. Miami), the Hawaii Bowl (43,487 in 2008 vs. Hawaii), the Insight Bowl (45,971 in 2004 vs. Oregon State, tops among games at Chase Field), the Independence Bowl (50,459 in 1997 vs. LSU) and the Pinstripe Bowl (47,122 in 2013 vs. Rutgers).
-- Notre Dame bowl games garnered record television ratings at the Sugar Bowl (28.8 on NBC in 1973 vs. Alabama), the Hawaii Bowl (3.7 on ESPN in 2008 vs. Hawaii), the Independence Bowl (4.5 on ESPN in 1997 vs. LSU, best since game has been on ESPN/ESPN2 since 1992) and the Pinstripe Bowl (3.2 on ESPN in 2013) .
Notre Dame and LSU will meet for the 11th time and the first time since the 2006 season. The series is tied 5-5--with Notre Dame playing host to the Tigers in Notre Dame Stadium in 1970 (a 3-0 win on a 24-yard Scott Hempel field goal with 2:54 left in the game), 1981 (a 27-9 win in Gerry Faust's first game as Irish head coach), 1985 (a 10-7 loss) and 1998 (a 39-36 victory). The Irish traveled to Baton Rouge to play games in 1971 (a 28-8 loss), 1984 (a 30-22 win that landed Faust on the cover of Sports Illustrated), 1986 (a 21-19 loss) and 1997 (a 24-6 victory in the first game in Notre Dame history in which the Irish played without a penalty or a turnover). The teams also met twice in bowls games--with LSU winning 27-9 in the 1997 Independence Bowl and 41-14 in the Sugar Bowl to finish the 2006 campaign.
This marks the eighth time Notre Dame has faced an SEC opponent in a bowl game--following three meetings with Alabama (Sugar in 1973, Orange in 1974, BCS title game in 2012), two with LSU (Independence in 1997, Sugar in 2006) and one each against Georgia (Sugar in 1980) and Florida (Sugar in 1991). The Irish are 3-4 in previous bowl matchups with SEC teams--with victories over top-rated and unbeaten Alabama teams in both 1973 and 1974 and over third-rated Florida in 1991. The Irish have played three times in bowl games against current SEC member Texas A&M, but all three of those matchups came when the Aggies were members of the Southwest Conference.
Notre Dame's only previous appearance in Nashville came in 1996 when the Irish defeated Vanderbilt 14-7 in a season-opening Thursday night game on the Commodores' campus.
Tickets for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl are now on sale by visiting www.und.com/buytickets. There is a $20 charge per order for FedEx delivery service to ensure receipt during the busy holiday season. Bowl ticket applications were sent via personalized emails to contributing alumni, benefactors, parents, season ticket holders and faculty/staff via email addresses on file at the Notre Dame ticket office. Those members of the Notre Dame family are encouraged to log in to their primary University account before Dec. 9 to ensure priority for seating. Public orders are subject to a first-come/first-served basis. For account assistance or questions please email the Notre Dame ticket office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 574-631-7356 beginning at 8:30 a.m. EST Monday (Dec. 8). Follow the Notre Dame ticket office on Twitter @NDTix for the latest news on Notre Dame athletics ticketed events, ticket releases, event updates and promotions.