Miami Accepts Orange Bowl Berth

The University of Miami Hurricanes will take on the Seminoles of Florida State University in the 70th Annual FedEx Orange Bowl Classic at Pro Player Stadium on January 1, 2004. The game will be televised by ABC and is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff and is a continuation of one of college football's most intense annual rivalries.

With this berth, Miami becomes the only school to appear in all four Bowl Championship Series bowl games over the last four seasons.

"It's a privilege and a pleasure to be invited to participate in the Orange Bowl Classic," said Miami athletic director Paul Dee. "All of us at Miami, especially the players and coaches, are looking forward to the challenge of playing against Florida State. I am particularly happy that we are able to play again in the Orange Bowl Classic, a bowl game with which we have a long and storied past."

"We're delighted to receive the invitation to the Orange Bowl Classic and I know our fans and players appreciate the opportunity to play in this great bowl game," said Miami head coach Larry Coker. "I know our players and our coaching staff relish the challenge to take on one of college football's finest programs. This is a rivalry that is always fierce, but also one in which both programs have a tremendous level of mutual respect."

This is the third time in Orange Bowl Classic history that the game matches teams that competed during that season's regular season. In the 1944 Orange Bowl Classic, LSU defeated Texas A&M, 19-14, after A&M had knocked off the Tigers, 28-13, during the regular season. In the 1979 Orange Bowl Classic, Oklahoma defeated Nebraska, 31-24, after the Cornhuskers had defeated the Sooners, 17-14, during the regular season.

Miami's appearance in the Orange Bowl Classic marks the Hurricanes' ninth Orange Bowl appearance. The Hurricanes are 5-3 in previous Orange Bowl outings. This is Miami's first appearance in the Orange Bowl since the 1995 Orange Bowl Classic, a 24-17 loss to Nebraska at the conclusion of the 1994 season. Miami is making its 30th bowl appearance overall. The Hurricanes have a record of 16-13 in 29 previous bowl games. The Hurricanes have played in 15 bowl games on New Year's Day, owning a 7-8 record.

The 10-2 Hurricanes won a share of the BIG EAST Conference title and enter the game ranked ninth in the ESPN/USA Today college football rankings and 10th in the Associated Press poll. FSU also finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

The matchup between the Hurricanes and the Seminoles marks the renewal of one of college football's fiercest rivalries, but is the first meeting between the two schools in a bowl game. The two teams will meet for the second time this season, having met in Tallahassee on Oct. 11 in a game the Hurricanes won by a 22-14 score. Miami and FSU will be fellow members of the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning next season, and they are slated to meet in the 2004 season opener to be played in Miami's Orange Bowl stadium on Labor Day Monday, September 6, 2004.

The Orange Bowl Classic with Florida State marks the 48th meeting in the series that dates back to 1951. Miami leads the series, 27-20, including a 12-6 mark in games at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee and a 15-14 advantage at the Orange Bowl. This is the first meeting of the teams at any "neutral" site.

Miami has won four straight in the series: a 27-24 win in 2000 at Miami, a 49-27 victory at Tallahassee in 2001, a 28-27 thriller at Miami in 2002, and this year's 22-14 verdict in Tallahassee. There have been 10 win streaks in the series, seven by Miami and three by FSU. Prior to the last four meetings, FSU had won five straight over Miami (1995-99), which came following UM streaks of three (1990-92), four (1985-88) and two games (1980-81). The largest win streak in the series was FSU's seven-game stretch from 1963-72. UM started the series with consecutive win streaks of five (1951-57) and three games (1959-62).

A combined 108 players from the UM and FSU rosters come from the state of Florida, including 58 on UM and 50 on FSU. A combined 33 players from the Miami and Florida State rosters attended high school together. Six of the 11 mutual high schools are located in the Dade/Broward/Palm Beach area, while Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and Tallassee Lincoln lead the way with five players from UM and FSU.

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