On Sunday, December 8, 2019, it was officially announced that Notre Dame would face off in the Camping World Bowl against the Iowa State Cyclones in a lose-lose situation for ND.
The Irish will be tasked with an upset minded team that finished the year with seven wins and five losses. But their record does not tell the full story of their season.
Looking Beyond The Losses
All power five teams that finished this season with two losses this season will be enjoying a challenging and respectable bowl game this post-season, except for the Fighting Irish.
Only Notre Dame drew an opponent that had greater than two wins between the records of both teams.
However, the deeper I look into Iowa State football, the worse this looks for the Fighting Irish. The Cyclones losses to the ranked opponents they faced this season were by a combined average of 2.75 points. These losses came against Iowa (18-17,) Baylor (23-21,) Oklahoma (42-41) and Oklahoma State (34-27.)
Simply put, it is a damn trap and we have to be ready.
A Young Quarterback
I am going to say it right now. Watch out for Brock Purdy. The Iowa State sophomore has 3,760 yards passing and 27 touchdowns to nine picks this season. For perspective, Ian Book finished with 2,787 yards, 33 passing touchdowns, and six interceptions. In what could very well be Book’s final showcase at Notre Dame, Purdy will look to steal the show.
Head to head against the aforementioned ranked opponents, Purdy has essentially out played fellow quarterbacks such as Jalen Hurts, Sam Ehlinger and Charlie Brewer. It seems when the lights are brightest, this kid comes to play.
Trying To Be Positive
At the end of the day, the Camping World Bowl will generate millions in revenue for the University of Notre Dame and since the Irish remain 1A Independent – there is no conference to pay off and the Fighting Irish will get all of their earnings. Although unverified, the estimated purse for the game is a cool 5.8 million dollars.
Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre Dame
Let us be honest. We are going to watch the game. No fan in their right mind is going to root against the Irish because winning is in our best interest.
If you are one of those overly critical fans, at least revel in the fact that the Irish will gain valuable practice experience despite the game itself is a bit of a letdown for a third consecutive win season.
A Must Win
As I mentioned, this game is really a lose-lose scenario – a loss for the Irish would be a colossal let down, while a win is the nationally expected result. Given the circumstances, this game is a must-win. Must-wins have not been the forte of the Brian Kelly era, so this could have some larger implications if the Irish show up ill prepared in Orlando.