Notre Dame bowl game: Fighting Irish holiday plans not yet set after regular season finale

Notre Dame running back Audric Estime (7) is among the nation's leaders in rushing yards (1,341) and touchdowns (18). (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
Notre Dame running back Audric Estime (7) is among the nation's leaders in rushing yards (1,341) and touchdowns (18). (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-3) are headed to a bowl game for the seventh straight season. All that's left to find out is where (and whom) they will play.

Notre Dame finished its season last Saturday in a 56-23 beatdown of Stanford on the road. It was the Irish's ninth win of the season, giving them one more than they had last year, in Marcus Freeman's first full season as head coach.

However, three losses are enough to keep the Fighting Irish out of a New Year's Six bowl this year, especially with so many talented one- and two-loss teams near the top of the latest rankings.

With its ties to the ACC, Notre Dame's options are limited to a few of the bowls with their own ACC affiliations. One of those bowls will bring a nine-win Fighting Irish team to face an evenly matched opponent from one of the other Power 5 conferences.

Here's what to know about Notre Dame's bowl possibilities.

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Will Notre Dame play in a bowl game?

Yes, with nine wins, Notre Dame is eligible to play in a bowl in 2023.

The Fighting Irish will not play in the College Football Playoff or another New Year's Six bowl with their three losses to Ohio State (11-1), Louisville (10-2) and Clemson (8-4) enough to hold them out. Where Notre Dame will play instead is based on the school's affiliation with the ACC conference, even though it's not technically a member school for football.

According to the ACC's website, the conference is affiliated with the following bowls (*denotes New Year's Six bowl):

  • Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

  • TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

  • Military Bowl

  • Duke's Mayo Bowl

  • DirecTV Holiday Bowl

  • Wasabi Fenway Bowl

  • Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl

  • Pop-Tarts Bowl

  • TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

  • Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

  • Capital One Orange Bowl*

  • ReliaQuest Bowl

Thanks to the CFP committee holding Florida State out of the playoff, bowls with ACC tie-ins are battling over which teams will play where according to Action Network insider Brett McMurphy. News regarding Notre Dame's bowl placement may be slow to come, but this story will be updated when it does.

Who will Notre Dame play in their bowl game?

As of Wednesday, Nov. 29, most analysts project Notre Dame to play in the Pop-Tarts Bowl (vs. Big 12 opponent) or ReliaQuest Bowl (vs. SEC opponent.)

Pop-Tarts Bowl

Should Notre Dame play in the Pop-Tarts Bowl, analysts have them playing either Big 12 finalist Oklahoma State in a rematch of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl (January) or Kansas State, a team Notre Dame has never played.

The Pop-Tarts Bowl was previously known as the Cheez-It Bowl and the Camping World Bowl.

ReliaQuest Bowl

If the Fighting Irish are selected to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl, most analysts have them playing LSU in a "revenge game" against former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and the Tigers.

The ReliaQuest Bowl was formerly known as the Outback Bowl.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Notre Dame football 2023 bowl game scenarios and possible opponents