On behalf of its Selection Committee, Florida Citrus Sports’ Chairman Michel Champagne and CEO Steve Hogan announced today that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Florida State Seminoles have been selected to play in this year’s Champs Sports Bowl. Set to take place December 29th from Orlando’s Citrus Bowl Stadium, the game will kick off at 5:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.
Notre Dame (8-4) and Florida State (8-4, 5-3 ACC), two of the most recognizable schools in college football, have met six times previous with the Seminoles holding a 4-2 edge. Three of those contests were played in South Bend. The other three games have all been played in the state of Florida, but this will be the first time that a meeting will take place at a stadium in the Sunshine State for a second time. FSU has previously won meetings in Orlando (a neutral-site game in 1994) and in Miami in the ’96 Orange Bowl.
Florida State’s appearance in the 22nd Champs Sports Bowl is its third, having posted victories in the bowl’s inaugural game in 1990 and then again in 2008. This will be the Irish’s first appearance in the game and they make it here by way of the bowl being able to select them once every four years in the current contract with the Big East and Notre Dame.
Both schools make their way to Orlando playing strong football throughout the second part of 2011. FSU has won six of its last seven after starting 2-3. The ‘Noles get it done by way of one of the nation’s stingiest defenses and they are ranked in the NCAA’s Top 25 in nine team categories. Chief among those high marks is the nation’s No. 2 rushing defense (81.8 ypg), No. 6 total defense (274.6 ypg) and No. 4 scoring defense (15.2 ppg).
After starting the season a disappointing 0-2, Notre Dame has bounced back and lost only two games the rest of the way, falling only to AP Top five teams Stanford and USC. The Irish offensive line is one of its strengths, ranking 19th nationally in sacks allowed, an attribute that should help against an FSU defense that ranks in the Top 10 in sacks and tackles for loss. Another weapon that may help the Irish is one of the nation’s top receiving threats, Michael Floyd. The 6-3 senior ranks ninth nationally in receptions (7.9 rpg) and averages nearly 100 yards per game (92.2).
Game ticket prices range from $62-202. For ticket information, please log on to www.ticketmaster.com. Groups of 20 or more may call the Florida Citrus Sports offices at 407.423.2476.