In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 25:
Alabama and Notre Dame have each won eight Associated Press national championships in college football, and the Irish enter their BCS title matchup Jan. 7 with the slightly higher all-time win percentage.
Yet their bowl-game history is very different.
While the Crimson Tide will be making their NCAA-record 60th all-time bowl appearance in Miami, it will be just the 32nd bowl for the Irish. Eight Southeastern Conference schools have taken more postseason trips than Notre Dame.
The reason for Notre Dame's relatively low number of bowls is due to university policy that was implemented following the Irish's 27-10 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl after the 1924 season. University officials announced a revision of that policy in November 1969, and several weeks later, Notre Dame dropped a 21-17 decision to Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
"The crucial consideration was the urgent need of the university for funds to finance minority student academic programs and scholarships," Notre Dame executive vice president Rev. Edmund P. Joyce said during the announcement of the change. "Notre Dame's share of the bowl game proceeds will be dedicated to this pressing university need. Plus, bowl-connected activities of the football team will fall largely in vacation time."
Between the 1970 and '80 seasons, Notre Dame played in three Cotton Bowls, two Orange Bowls, two Sugar Bowls and one Gator Bowl, but there were three years in which the Irish had winning records but declined invitations to bowls with less prestige. That changed in 1983 and '84, when they went to the Liberty and Aloha bowls.