“Save Jimmy Johnson’s ass for me.”
This quote is one of the more revered utterances in Notre Dame sports legend.
Lou Holtz allegedly said this to his team after a pre-game brawl between Notre Dame and Miami in a famous 1988 tilt featuring the No. 1 Hurricanes and No. 2 Irish.
It was obvious that both teams didn’t like each other. And that is putting it nicely.
The Notre Dame/Miami rivalry was a heated match-up for years in the late-80’s and early-90’s, and then poof … it was gone. And gone with it were the powerhouse traditions of these two universities.
Miami got itself back on the radar with its National Championship following the 2001 season, but it has been a mess since then, and now they are searching for a new coach.
By: Brian McCabe
Notre Dame finished this season 7-5, which means it had its first winning season in four years. Seriously. Let that sink in. It’s been four years since Notre Dame had a winning team.
The current state of these two once-proud traditions is a shell of its former self. And that is how they will find each other in El Paso, Texas on New Year’s Eve as the two meet in this year’s installment of the Sun Bowl.
No offense to the Sun Bowl, but this game perfectly sums up both teams. Who would of thought that a Notre Dame/Miami bowl game would have been played in December during the afternoon? This idea would have been incomprehensible in 1990.
Fans and enthusiasts alike clamored for a Notre Dame vs. Miami bowl game for years. Unfortunately, for both teams, this was decades ago.
Even though these teams find themselves on the rebound, this year’s Sun Bowl was the fastest sell-out in history. Clearly, Notre Dame and Miami are still relevant.
This was the same thinking when both schools agreed to a three-year deal to play starting with a September meeting at Soldier Field in 2012. Both schools know there are plenty of dollars to be made and understand that they can help each other. ND and Miami are hoping to get back to the top-tier of college football. Each school knows what it means to their alumni, students, fans, and most importantly, their respective bottom-lines.
However, the reality is that both teams are mediocre at best. Notre Dame hasn’t played a bowl game on the mainland since January of 2007 and Miami hasn’t won a bowl game since December of 2006.
Getting back to their respective ways of the 1980s and early 1990’s is the goal for both teams. It has to be.
Maybe playing in the nation’s second-oldest bowl game can be the catalyst in achieving this goal.
One thing remains unchanged 22 years later …
These two teams still do not like each other.