Orange Bowl Bound

In a rematch endorsed by the BCS but not embraced by either program, <b>Miami</b> and <b>Florida State</b> will meet in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1. Of course, the showdown is a rematch of a game played earlier this season and a preview of the 2004 opener for the instate rivals. The Hurricanes have beaten the Seminoles four consecutive times, including a 22-14 victory in Tallahassee on Oct. 11.

Dave Hart, FSU's Director of Athletics, voiced his displeasure in a written release read to the media during the Orange Bowl conference call Sunday evening. Hart said the selection process needed to be "reassessed" and he pointed out that FSU had assurances "a rematch would not happen."

FSU coach Bobby Bowden and UM coach Larry Coker, however, were both good sports about the game, though each made it clear he would have opted to play elsewhere. The Fiesta Bowl used its preferred selection and picked Ohio State to face Kansas State, sealing the FSU-UM rematch in the Orange Bowl.

"I am glad to finally know where we are going," Bowden said. "I've been sitting back all week wanting to study film but I didn't expect this." Added Coker: "A rematch, I am not in favor of it.

The Hurricanes have beaten the Seminoles four consecutive times, including a 22-14 victory in Tallahassee on Oct. 11. Bowden is 8-13 against Miami since 1983. But five of the victories came between 1995 and 1999 while the Hurricanes were recovering from NCAA sanctions that included dozens of scholarship reductions.

FSU also knows a thing or two about rematches, facing off against Florida twice in the 1995 and 1997 Sugar Bowls. The Seminoles beat Florida 23-17 the first go around to finish 10-1-1 and fourth in the country, but lost for the national title to end the 1996 seasons, 52-20 in New Orleans.

The Hurricanes played in back-to-back national championship games the last two years, but lost consecutive games to Virginia Tech and Tennessee to start November and dropped out of the title picture for the first time since 1999.

FSU lost to Georgia 26-13 in last year's Sugar Bowl.

Senior FSU receiver Joey Kaleikini watched the selection process and said he was surprised by the pairings. However, he also saw a silver lining in playing the Hurricanes again.

"I know a lot of the guys wanted to go out west, either to the Fiesta or Rose bowls, but now at least everyone's families will be able to go since it's here in state," Kaleikini said.

"I know a lot of guys will be excited to go to Miami. Plus, it's Miami and everyone felt we got a tough break up here with the weather when we played them, so I know everyone will be ready to play. I guess you could say the (BCS) system is a little flawed, but I was floored to see Oklahoma lose. It just shows you what I know (laughing)."


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