Two storied programs with rich football tradition meet Tuesday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) when LSU takes on Notre Dame in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. Let's look ahead to the matchup:
What's at stake: Not as much as either team would hope. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 nationally at one point this season but stumbled down the stretch. Notre Dame (7-5) dropped its last four regular-season contests; LSU (8-4) lost two straight, including a shutout at the hands of Arkansas, before getting a road win Thanksgiving Day at Texas A&M. That said, the two big-name programs should be fired up to meet, and getting a win would be a nice positive for either squad. Brian Kelly has won eight games in each of his first four seasons at Notre Dame, and a win would give him a fifth straight such season. LSU has won eight games in a season for the past 15 years, and it is the longest such streak of any Power 5 conference team.
Players to watch:Notre Dame receiver William Fuller is tied for third in the nation in touchdown catches after hauling in 14 this season. He leads the Fighting Irish in receptions (71) and receiving yards (1,037). LSU true freshman running back Leonard Fournette leads the Tigers with 891 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and has four games of 100 or more rushing yards in LSU's past eight games.
Out-of-conference success: Under Miles, LSU has enjoyed plenty of success against teams outside the SEC. Since 2005, LSU is 45-2 against non-SEC teams, with the only two losses coming in bowl games (Penn State in the 2010 Capital One Bowl; Clemson in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl).
Evening up with the SEC: Notre Dame is 3-4 in bowl games against SEC teams and looking to make that mark .500. They have only faced two SEC teams in bowl games in the past 17 years. The past two came in the BCS championship vs. Alabama in 2013 and against LSU in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, both Notre Dame losses.
Watching the QBs: Kelly announced Monday that Notre Dame redshirt freshman Malik Zaire will get the start over previous starter Everett Golson. Zaire relieved Golson in Notre Dame's regular-season finale against USC, a 49-14 loss. There has been much talk about LSU's quarterback situation and how much time true freshman Brandon Harris will see, but expect starter Anthony Jennings to get the lion's share of the snaps. Jennings told reporters "I'm getting all the one's reps right now. I expect to start and play well."
Stiff defense: LSU's defense, ranked eighth nationally in yards per game, was strong down the stretch. The Tigers allowed only eight touchdowns in regulation in the past six games. Of those eight, only three were on drives of 75 yards or longer.