Notre Dame is 3-5 in bowl games played in the state of Florida, but this is their first postseason trip to Orlando. The Irish are 15-15 overall in bowl games and they will appear in bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2005-2006.
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 which has allowed just 81.8 yards per game, the No. 6 total defense that has allowed 274.6 yards per game, and the No. 4 scoring defense that has surrendered only 15.2 points per game.
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 Stanford (No. 5 CCR Top 120, No. 4 BCS) and USC (No. 12 CCR Top 120, ineligible BCS).
The Irish offensive line ranks 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 in Michael Floyd. The 6-3 senior ranks ninth nationally in receptions with 7.9 per game and averages 92.2 yards per game.
The game, which is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. EST kickoff, will be televised nationally by ESPN.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project FSU to win by 3.04 points to chalk up another win over the Irish.