ACC Bowl Preview #5

Dec. 17, 2010

Dec. 31 / Hyundai Sun Bowl
Miami (7-5) vs. Notre Dame (7-5), 2 p.m.

Some bowl games want to sell tickets, some want to drive the local economy (ie. Gator Bowl taking Mississippi State over Florida), and then there’s the Hyundai Sun Bowl, who simply wants to have a good match-up for television. Seriously.

This is the first year of the ACC’s agreement with the El Paso (Texas) bowl game, and their organizers wasted no time taking Miami (interim coach) and Notre Dame (inconsistent). After all, it’s going to look good on TV (CBS). Despite the two schools starting a series in 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago, the Hurricanes and Irish have plenty on the line in El Paso.

Miami terminated Randy Shannon the day after the regular season was over and hired Al Golden on December 14 to be their new head coach. While Golden’s Temple team went 8-4, the Owls didn’t get a bowl bid out of the MAC, so Golden will get to watch his new team go through bowl prep and even see the game against the Irish to get a feel for his 2011 squad.

Interim head coach Jeff Stoutland will lead Miami in the bowl game, and it’ll be interesting to see how all of this comes together against Notre Dame. The Irish won six of their last eight games to close the regular season, including a 20-16 win at USC in the finale.

After Dane Crist was lost for the year, rookie Tommy Rees started the last three games for the Irish (all wins). Despite throwing four touchdowns and six interceptions in those last three games, Rees helped steady the Irish in wins over Utah and Army, before he survived a three-interception night against the Trojans.

For Miami, look for the `Canes to get in that “heavy package” formation on offense and run the ball against a Notre Dame defense that is 55th nationally against the run.

It might be just that simple, but apparently it’ll make for great television.

–Wes Durham

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