Aloha!!!

Notre Dame has accepted a bid to play in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl against Hawai'i on Christmas Eve. The Irish will complete final exams on Dec. 19 before heading to Honolulu for their final game of the 2008 season.

Charlie Weis has made a couple trips to Hawai'i for recruiting but for his next visit to the islands he will be bringing along some reinforcements.

On Sunday, The University of Notre Dame accepted a bid to play against Hawai'i in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl in Honolulu at 8 p.m. (EST) on Christmas Eve. The game will be held at the Aloha Bowl, which fits 50,000 people, and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

"We¹re very excited about heading out west to play in the Sheraton Hawai¹i Bowl," head coach Charlie Weis said. "This is a great opportunity for our team to face a quality opponent in their backyard and we¹ll need to be ready.

"I know the extra practices this month will really benefit our team and we look forward to ending this season on a good note."

Notre Dame was pushed out of its usual Big East bowl affiliations since six teams from the conference won seven games, preventing any of their bowls from selecting the 6-6 Irish over a seven-win team. The Hawai'i Bowl selected the Irish as an at-large team since the Pac-10 was unable to fill its seven bowl slots.

Weis has traveled to Honolulu multiple times this year to check out the nation's top linebacker Manti Te'o. Maybe the team was a bit envious of its head coach's itinerary or that of the Irish basketball team which played in Maui last month. Or maybe the recent weather in South Bend has the players salivating for a trip to the beach, but whatever the reason, when asked which bowl game they preferred, the players pointed across the Pacific.

Notre Dame will not schedule a bowl game until the completion of final exams. This year's finals end on Dec. 19, giving the players five days between their final test in the classroom and their final exam on the field. But if Notre Dame wants to get its first bowl win in 15 years, the Irish need to treat this trip as business, not pleasure.

After losing three out of four games to start the season, Hawai'i rebounded and won three of its final four to finish with a 7-6 record and tied for second in the Western Athletic Conference. The Warriors were in good position to sweep those final four games and finish 8-5, but they gave up 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati to lose 29-24.

Gone are head coach June Jones and record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan, but the Warriors still managed a respectable 24.9 points and 344.8 yards per game.

Greg McMackin served as Hawai'i's defensive coordinator in 2007 and was promoted to head coach this year after Jones left for Southern Methodist University. The Hawai'i defense has given up 27.3 points and 351.8 yards per game, but has allowed the Warriors to win more than they've lost.

Hawai'i has started three different quarterbacks since Brennan was drafted in the sixth round by the Washington Redskins, but junior college transfer Greg Alexander ultimately earned the job. Alexander has played in eight games, starting six, and has completed 131 of 206 passes (63.6%) for 1,634 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Hawai'i played an especially tough schedule with four of their six losses coming against BCS National Championship Game-bound Florida, Oregon State, which finished second in the Pac-10, WAC Champion Boise State and Big East Champion Cincinnati.

This will be Notre Dame's fourth trip to Hawai'i for a football game and first since 1997 when the Irish defeated Hawai'i 23-22.

Tickets will go on sale Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. EST and can be purchased over the phone or online from the Notre Dame Ticket Office.


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