Both teams knew they would play in a bowl game. It was just a matter of where and against whom.
Indiana and Notre Dame will both have an extra game to impress, earning bowl games to conclude their 2019 seasons.
Notre Dame (10-2) will meet Iowa State (7-5) on Saturday, Dec. 28, for a noon start in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando. The first-ever meeting between the two teams sees the Irish come into the game ranked No. 15 in the latest CFP poll. Notre Dame is making its second appearance in the Camping World Bowl, formerly the Champs Sports Bowl, to which Notre Dame made a 2011 appearance and lost to Florida State 18-14. Iowa State is unranked and has not played in the bowl.
Notre Dame capped a 10-2 regular season with a 45-24 victory at Stanford on Nov. 30. The Irish finished the season ranked among the top-15 nationally in both scoring offense (37.1 points per game) and scoring defense (18.7 points allowed per game), while registering three wins against teams in the final College Football Playoff rankings (USC, Virginia and Navy). The Irish have won 10 or more games in a season for now a third straight season.
Indiana (8-4) had a resurgent season that saw the Hoosiers crack the top 25 at one point for the first time in years. The Hoosiers will meet another team that had a revival, Tennessee (7-5) on Thursday, Jan. 2, for a 7 p.m. tilt in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.
The Hoosiers started its season 7-2 and earned a No. 24 ranking, but fell in consecutive weeks to Penn State and Michigan before rallying in overtime to defeat Purdue in the final week of the regular season. Indiana has won eight games for the eighth time in program history and first time since 1993. They haven’t won nine games since 1967. Tennessee were 2-5 after losing at Alabama on Oct. 19 but have reeled off five straight wins, their longest streak since opening 5-0 in 2016.
The last time the two teams played was in the 1988 Peach Bowl, won by Tennessee, 27-22. This is Indiana’s first appearance in the Gator Bowl and first in a bowl played in Florida. It’s their 12th bowl appearance in school history. This will be the Vols’ sixth appearance in the Gator Bowl and first since 1994. This is their 53rd bowl overall.