The Notre Dame Fighting Irish began the season with such promise. A 6-0 start to the year had them in prime position to make the first ever College Football Playoff and get back in the national title discussion following the disappointing championship loss to Alabama two years ago.
But the Irish fell to Florida State in their seventh contest of the season and the entire campaign went downhill after that. A narrow win against Navy got them to 7-1, but they would ultimately lose four straight games with losses at home against Northwestern and Louisville bookmarked by losses on the road against Pac-12 opponents Arizona State and USC.
So Notre Dame finished the season at 7-5, a far more disappointing finish than anyone expected two months ago. Nonetheless, they will be bowling this season and have one of the more interesting matchups of the pre-January 1st bowl season as they will meet the LSU Tigers of the SEC Conference.
This will be the first time the Fighting Irish will face an SEC team since their embarrassing 42-14 loss to Alabama in the national championship game. So the Music City Bowl will be an opportunity for Notre Dame to show that they have enough talent to compete with the big time SEC programs.
Notre Dame tickets to the Music City Bowl start for just $29 on TiqIQ.com and the average price is $123. That is cheaper than any Notre Dame home game this season, and significantly cheaper than the $263 get-in price for the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Sugar Bowl.
According to Hipmunk.com, flights to Nashville from Chicago start at just $236 on December 29th, a day before the game. In addition, rates for Nashville hotels start at only $75. When all is said and done, it’s possible you’ll be able to fly into the Music City, spend two nights at a hotel, and purchase a ticket to the game for a little over $400. Considering it typically costs an average ticket price around $300 to get in to a Notre Dame home game, the Music City Bowl is a pretty good deal.
Fans who do venture to Nashville will be hoping for a victory out of the Irish, though it will not come easy. The injuries on the defensive side of the ball, as well as the suspensions on the offensive side of the ball, have left Notre Dame with a skeleton unit. Most likely, a win will come in a shootout which will put a lot of pressure on the Notre Dame quarterback.
Head coach Brian Kelly is holding an open competition between Golson and Malik Zaire to see who will start. If Golson ends up as the starter, it will be critical for his future as he can return next year for his final season of eligibility, despite the fact that he is a senior this season. Golson is one of the few quarterbacks in the college football landscape that is a playmaker and can win games almost singlehandedly with his dual threat ability, but he has been alarmingly careless with the ball at times.
A loss to LSU would most likely spell doom for Golson’s chances at starting next season, especially if he turns the ball over. Meanwhile, if Zaire were to start and lead the team to a win that would most likely end Golson’s reign behind center as well. It will be a very interesting development as we get closer to December 30th. Whoever is the starter, they will face a talented, and fast, defensive team and it will be a tall task to get the Irish to their eighth win this season.