Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka

Apparently jealous of the basketball team's recent success on the Islands, Notre Dame officially accepted the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl's invitation to play the hometown University of Hawai'i Warriors on December 24th. It will be:
  • The first time Notre Dame has played in the Hawai'i Bowl but the second bowl appearance in Honolulu (the Irish played in the 1984 Aloha Bowl, Gerry Faust's second and final postseason berth, a 27-20 loss to SMU).
  • The third time Notre Dame has played Hawai'i. The previous games were both end-of-season Thanksgiving week trips in 1991 & '97, both nailbiters won by the Irish (48-42 in '91, 23-22 in '97).
  • The first time Notre Dame has ever played a game on Christmas Eve (though they did play a very memorable, albeit fictional, contest during the 1988 holiday season while John McClane was battling Hans Gruber).
Having just returned from there, I think we members of Section 29 can vouch for the fact that there are worse ways to spend the holiday season than being "stuck" in Hawaii. The relative merits of taking on this game - indeed, any bowl game at all - are sure to become a hot-button topic for Notre Dame watchers during the next 17 days. The quick read from my end, all bulls&*t aside: it would be nice to finally be rid of the albatross known as "the streak" when it comes to bowl games. Hopefully the players seize the opportunity.

Updated - Notre Dame's official press release:
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- For just the second time in school history, Notre Dame will be playing a bowl game in Hawai’i.

The Fighting Irish (6-6) will face Hawai’i (7-6) in the seventh annual Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl on Dec. 24, the NCAA announced Sunday evening.

“We’re very excited about heading out west to play in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl,” head coach Charlie Weis said. “This is a great opportunity for our team to face a quality opponent in their backyard and we’ll need to be ready.

“I know the extra practices this month will really benefit our team and we look forward to ending this season on a good note.”

This will be the fourth trip to Hawai’i in the football program’s history. The Irish lost to SMU in the 1984 Aloha Bowl, 27-20, and played at Hawai’i in the regular season finales in 1991 and 1997. Notre Dame won both previous meetings with the Warriors, 48-42 in 1991 and 23-22 in 1997.

Site of the game is 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawai’i. ESPN will nationally televise the game at 8:00 p.m. EST (3:00 p.m. HST in Honolulu).

Notre Dame will be making its 29th bowl appearance overall and its fourth in the past five seasons. The Irish played in the 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl, the 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the 2004 Insight Bowl. Notre Dame is 13-15 in postseason play.
Brian, any chance you've got some Starwood points left over and feel like spending Christmas in Hawaii too? C'mon, this thing is sponsored by Sheraton!

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