Notre Dame's 5 Most Likely Bowl Opponents This Year

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish would have loved to secure a College Football Playoff berth, but those hopes were dashed with a close loss to Stanford. Despite battling more injuries than any team outside of TCU, the Fighting Irish posted an impressive 10-2 record. Because of Notre Dame's record and stature, plus the Rose and Sugar Bowl's affiliations, the Irish are likely to head to either the Fiesta Bowl or the Peach Bowl. That narrows down the potential field of opponents. With that in mind, here are Notre Dame's 5 Most Likely Bowl Opponents: 

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

This one isn't as likely to happen as the others on this list, but it sure would be fun. The Buckeyes are far more likely to go to the Rose Bowl, but could wind up with a matchup against Notre Dame in the Fiesta or Peach. It'd make for great TV and ticket sales. 

4. Florida State Seminoles

The only way this happens is if Notre Dame plays in the Peach Bowl. Florida State seems penciled into one spot, and Notre Dame would make for a fun game. Everett Golson is no longer starting for FSU, but there'd still be the storyline of him playing against his old team. This would make for one of the better non-CFP bowl games, but don't bet on it happening. 

3. Michigan State Spartans

Pitting Notre Dame against old rival Michigan State should be good for ratings. Of course, it might not matter since Michigan State is favored against Iowa in the Big Ten title game. If Michigan State loses, expect them to battle Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. 

2. Houston Cougars 

The Irish could play the Cougars in the Fiesta Bowl if Houston beats Temple in the American Athletic Conference Championship game. In that case, a 12-1 Houston team would qualify as the Group of 5 team. They'd get a guaranteed New Year's Six Bowl and might end up in the Fiesta Bowl. 

1. Iowa Hawkeyes

If Houston doesn't end up playing in the Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame should be matched up against the loser of the Big Ten title game. Iowa is the underdog, so if they lose, the Fiesta should pit them against Notre Dame. It's not the most exciting matchup, especially compared with a game against Ohio State, but it's still a prestigious bowl game a highly-ranked opponent. 

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