What was once known as the "Catholics vs. Convicts" rivalry gets renewed for the first time since 1990 when Miami (Fla.) takes on Notre Dame in the 77th annual Sun Bowl.
The Hurricanes will be led by interim head coach Jeff Stoutland, the offensive line coach under Randy Shannon who was fired on the evening of November 27 after a 23-20 overtime loss at home to USF. Temple head coach Al Golden was hired as Shannon's permanent replacement on December 12.
The 'Canes completed the 2010 regular season with an overall record of 7-5 and were 5-3 in the ACC. Both marks are one win better than CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 120) gave Miami in its preseason assessment. The Hurricanes got off to a 3-1 start, but were just 4-4 after that and are currently riding a two-game losing streak.
Under first-year head coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame is also 7-5 which is two wins better than the computer's projected 5-7 season. The year produced a mixed bag of results for the Fighting Irish who broke from the gates slowly with a 1-3 start, then went 6-2 over the final eight games. Wins over Pitt, Utah and USC were overshadowed by losses to Navy and Tulsa.
Charlie Weis was fired as Notre Dame's head coach after going 6-6 last year.
Notre Dame returns to the postseason for the first time since it ended a 9-bowl losing streak with its win over Hawaii in the Hawai'i Bowl to cap the 2008 season. The Irish are 14-15 all-time in bowl games.
Miami is just 3-4 in bowl games since winning the 2001 BCS title with a 37-14 defeat of Nebraska in the 2001 season Rose Bowl. The 'Canes have lost their last two bowl appearance.
The Sun Bowl is one of the longest-running bowl games with its first game held on New Year's Day in 1935. It is matched in longevity only by the Orange and Sugar Bowls, and surpassed only by the Rose Bowl.
This is the first-ever Sun Bowl appearance for both teams and the first time they have ever met in any bowl game.
Overall, Miami and Notre Dame have played 23 times with the Irish holding a 15-7-1 advantage. However, the Hurricanes have won six of the last nine meetings. Notre Dame took 11 straight games from Miami from 1967-1980.
The computer is only 6-6 in forecasting the winner of Miami games this season and 5-7 with Notre Dame. It is just 3-8 against the spread with the 'Canes, but 8-4 with the Irish. The computer favors Miami by 4.78 points in this contest. (Such information is tracked for the sole purpose of recording the computer's accuracy in picking games and ranking teams. It is not intended for gambling purposes).
The game will take place on Friday, December 31 at 2 p.m. eastern at Sun Bowl Stadium, a 51,500-seat facility on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. It is one of just three bowl games this season that will NOT be aired on ESPN. Instead, the game will be seen nationally on CBS for the 43rd consecutive season.