With an Irish Nation divided, we have our first of two columns and our weekly 5 questions/points for the final game of the season.
Question One: Will the Irish earn their first bowl victory over Florida State and second straight vs. power programs from the state of Florida?
The Irish are 0-1 against the Seminoles in bowl play and both teams enter this contest looking to earn their ninth victory of the season. The last time the two teams faced off in post-season play was the 1996 Orange Bowl when Lou Holtz's sixth-ranked Irish matched up with Bobby Bowden's eighth-ranked Seminoles. FSU prevailed 31-26 as Seminoles quarterback Danny Kanell threw four touchdown passes and Florida State scored the final 17 points of the game.
Question Two: Can the Irish beat the Seminoles for the first time at a neutral site?
The Seminoles hold a 2-0 advantage over the Irish in games played on a neutral site, winning a regular season game 23-17 in Orlando's Citrus Bowl in 1994...the same stadium that will host this year's contest.
Question Three: Will the Irish have any lasting effects from the Stanford game when they take the field in Orlando?
It will be just over a month since the Irish played a game when they take the field against Florida State. As Irish fans have since lamented, quarterback Tommy Rees threw an interception, lost a fumble and took a bruising before Andrew Hendrix came in and threw for 192 yards and a touchdown, running for another as the Irish rally came up short.
Question Four: Can we learn anything from the results the Seminoles and Irish had against common opponents?
The Seminoles and Irish each played Wake Forest, Maryland, and Boston College this past season. The Seminoles went 2-1 against the three teams losing to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem 35-30. The Irish played all three teams in back-to-back-to-back weeks going 3-0 and beating Wake Forest 24-17.
The Seminoles scored a total of 109 points on offense and gave up 53 points in the three games while the Irish scored 85 points while giving up 52 points.
Question Five: How many snaps will Andrew Hendrix receive against Florida State?
Hendrix gave the Irish a spark against Stanford keeping them in the game. On the season, Hendrix has thrown 29 passes and rushed the ball a total of 21 times for 136 yards, good enough for third-place among all Irish runner. His overall role in the bowl game remains in question.
Irisheyes.com will have another set of Five Questions, each directly related to the matchup, as game day approaches.