Noles Headed to the Orange Bowl

Waving his ACC championship t-shirt and grinning with an orange stuck in his mouth, Florida State wide receiver Willie Reid mugged for photos following his team's 27-22 victory against Virginia Tech Saturday night.

An 8-4 season never tasted so good.

"I think we took a step back to where Florida State football should be," said Reid, who was named the game's MVP. "We showed something out there."

FSU's 12th conference title in its 14-year ACC tenure did indeed get the Seminoles back to a place where they are used to being – a BCS bowl.

In a matchup of the ages fitting for the demographics of South Florida, 76-year old FSU coach Bobby Bowden will lead his team against Penn State and 78-year old Joe Paterno in the FedEx Orange Bowl Monday, Jan. 3. The two are the winningest coaches of all time. Bowden, who took over that distinction in 2003, has six more victories that Paterno in his 40-year career.

"Is that what we are looking at? I might not show up," Bowden quipped Saturday following the game.

"It's unbelievable to have the number one and number two all-time coaches available," Orange Bowl CEO Keith Tribble said. "This gives us an amazing opportunity. This may never happen again - they may never coach against each other – and that's intriguing for us."

The win Saturday night was also a profitable one for the Seminoles, who will earn a $13.5 million payout for their Orange Bowl appearance. Compare that to the paychecks they were looking at with possible bids to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco ($800,000), Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando ($750,000) or Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte ($750,000)

Penn State – the No. 3 team in the BCS standings – had hoped upsets by UCLA (against No. 1 USC) or Colorado (against No. 2 Texas) would garner them a bid to the Rose Bowl to play for the national championship. Instead, the Nittany Lions (10-1) will face the Seminoles for the first time since the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl, a game FSU won 24-17.

The Nittany Lions' lone blemish came on Oct. 15 when they lost 27-25 against Michigan on the game's final play.

FSU will likely break from practices until after the Christmas holiday.

INJURY REPORT

LB Marcello Church – Left ankle fracture

C David Castillo – Right ankle sprain

S Anthony Houllis – Concussion

NG Brodrick Bunkley – Right ankle sprain

WR Greg Carr – Right hip pointer


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