Nearly 10 years to the day that Ohio State and Notre Dame last played, the two teams will meet with the same stakes on the line. The No.7 Buckeyes face the No.8 Fighting Irish in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Ohio State began the season as the unanimous No.1 team in the nation, but they kept winning without looking like the nation’s top team for much of the year. The Buckeyes eventually lost when they faced the toughest team on their schedule, allowing Michigan State instead to represent the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff.
Going 11-1, the Buckeyes are 49-4 under head coach Urban Meyer. But the season has still been a disappointment for the defending national champions. Ohio State has played in a bowl game in every year that it was eligible since 2000.
Both Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett have started at quarterback with neither one playing like Heisman Trophy candidates. Ezekiel Elliott, however, remains one of the nation’s best running backs.
Notre Dame survived a number of key injuries, only losing one of their first 11 games to Clemson, who sits atop the CFP Rankings. But the Fighting Irish will have to settle for a bid to the Fiesta Bowl after losing on a last-second field goal to Stanford in their 2015 finale.
After Heisman Trophy hopeful Malik Zaire went down for the year on Sept. 12, it looked like it might be a long season for Notre Dame. But backup quarterback DeShone Kizer filled in as well as anyone could’ve expected, and the Irish’s 10-2 record is their second-best in six seasons under head coach Brian Kelly.
The Irish defeated LSU in last year’s Music City Bowl, and they won the Pinstripe Bowl in the previous season.
It’s the first time in a decade and just the sixth time ever that the schools will meet on the football field. Quarterback Troy Smith led the Buckeyes to a 34-20 victory over Brady Quinn and the Irish in 2006, and it’s been almost 80 years since Notre Dame beat Ohio State.
No.20 Boise State defeated No.10 Arizona in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State appeared in the Fiesta Bowl in 2009 when they lost to Texas, 24-21.
The contest will be place at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, which has a capacity of 65,000. With three weeks remaining until the contest, tickets are almost sold out. The cheapest tickets cost $85 before tax, and they are the only ones available away from the secondary ticket market.
Tickets can’t be had for less than $98 on StubHub. The most expensive tickets, which originally cost $325, can’t be had for less than $445 on StubHub.