Last spring, well, it wasn’t spring from a meteorological sense, but it was technically that season on the calendar, the #10 seeded Florida State Seminoles upset the #2 seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was a de facto road game for the ‘Noles as they sent ND home early from the United Center in Chicago. That was the college basketball postseason, now they rematch in the college football postseason in Orlando, Florida- a de facto road game for Notre Dame.
The 22nd Champs Sports Bowl, 5:30 p.m. EST Dec. 29, 2011, in the 65,438-seat Citrus Bowl Stadium.
ESPN will nationally televise the game and ESPN Radio also will carry the game. The Irish and Seminoles face off for the seventh time and second time in a bowl game. Florida State owns a 4-2 series lead and is the only ACC school that has faced the Irish at least twice and owns the advantage in the series.
Notre Dame will be making its 31st bowl appearance overall–its first in the Champs Sports Bowl–and its ninth in the state of Florida (five previous Orange Bowl appearances and three Gator Bowl appearances). The Irish stand 15-15 in postseason play and have won two straight bowl games.
This game will feature two 8-4 squads that fell drastically short of expectations. Both the Noles and the Irish were expected to be nationally relevant, but both suffered a couple losses early in September.
I’ve always said that the ACC, not the Big Ten is the perfect fit for the Irish and this marks the second consecutive year the Irish will face an ACC team in a bowl.
Notre Dame defeated Miami (Fla.) in the 2010 Sun Bowl (31-17) to snap a three-game losing streak against ACC schools in bowl games. The Irish lost to North Carolina State in the 2003 Gator Bowl (28-6), Georgia Tech (35-28) in the 1999 GatorBowl and Florida State (31-26) in the 1996 Orange Bowl. Notre Dame defeated Boston College (19-18) in the 1983 Liberty Bowl.
Notre Dame will be the designated home team in this game and will wear its traditional blue jerseys with gold pants and gold helmets.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.