NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sporting Alert) — There are three more college football bowl titles up for the taking on Tuesday, Dec. 30, with No. 13 Georgia, No. 21 Louisville and No. 23 LSU all on the schedule.
Action gets underway with No. 23 LSU and Notre Dame, two of the most successful programs in college football history, doing battle for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Both teams started the year with ambitions of making the first ever college football playoff and were each ranked in the top 10 at some point during the season.
However, midseason slip-ups and costly defeats at key moments during the term resulted in them stumbling down the rankings and ultimately off the championship battling radar.
The Fighting Irish (7-5) opened the season with a 6-0 record, but a defeat to defending champion Florida State triggered a poor run, as they won just once after that period and closed the season on a disappointing 0-4 streak.
LSU (8-4) also made a strong start to their season, but failing to get past fellow SEC rivals, including Mississippi State, Auburn and Alabama, crashed all hopes of playing in the inaugural final four this season.
Head coach Les Miles admits that the season didn’t go according to script, but revealed that his young team is still learning.
“This is a young team that is maturing as we go. We have had 12 practices and I think we are better than we’ve been,” Miles said.
“I think we have taken another step as a team. I’m looking forward to watching us play and see how the team that plays compares with the one that last played at Texas A&M in late November.”
The Tigers are averaging 27.6 points per game and putting up 219.5 per game in rushing yards and they hope to become the first school to beat Notre Dame in three bowl games.
“There’s nowhere to hide against a team like LSU,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, who is the first coach in program history to reach a bowl game in each of his first five seasons.
“They have an offense that has rushed for 300 yards in three SEC games this year. That’s very formidable. We are going to have be ready to handle that.”
Miles’ group is holding teams to just 16.4 points per game this season with its strong defense that leads the country in defensive passing efficiency, but Kelly wants his offense to dictate the game.
“We’ll have to do a great job of keeping our defense off the field, and our offense has a lot to say about what goes on there,” said Kelly.
“These are important practices and we’re better at (the quarterback) position because of it.”
In action as well on Tuesday are No. 13 Georgia and No. 21 Louisville, who face-off in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This will be the first meeting between the Bulldogs and Cardinals and both programs are confident of ending their campaign on a winning note.
Louisville (9-3) comes into this contest on a good run of form after winning its last three games, including a 31-28 victory over Notre Dame — and coach Bobby Petrino wants to wrap up his schedule with a 10th win.
“Yeah, we want to get to 10 wins,” said Petrino. “That’s certainly something our seniors would be very proud of so they can look back at their career and see the double-digit winning seasons they’ve had.”
Meanwhile, Maryland and Stanford will lock horns in the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Like Louisville and Georgia, this will also be the first meeting between the Cardinal (7-5) and the Terrapins (7-5).
College Bowl Games on Tuesday, December 30
Notre Dame vs. No. 23 LSU – ESPN/WatchESPN
FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL
GAME TIME (ET) 3:00 PM
No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 21 Louisville – ESPN/WatchESPN
GAME TIME (ET) 6:30 PM
Maryland vs. Stanford – ESPN/WatchESPN
FOSTER FARMS BOWL
GAME TIME (ET) 10:00 PM