Dec 4, 2011, 9:07 PM EDT
A year after renewing a storied rivalry against Miami in the Sun Bowl, the Irish have another date with a vaunted opponent of yesteryear. Thanks to Clemson’s victory in the ACC Championship last night, Notre Dame will take on Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl, giving December 29th one of the most high-profile match-ups of the bowl season.
Of course, there’s a little luster lost when the Irish take on a blue-chip football program a few days before New Years Day, and if the Irish’s four losses were considered a disappointment, the fact that the Seminoles are sitting at 8-4 as well is a huge letdown for a team that ranked among the nation’s best in the preseason.
We’ll have more from Brian Kelly later tonight, but the main headline coming from BK is that Tommy Rees will start against the Seminoles but Andrew Hendrix will play. Whoever is playing against FSU will battle one of the country’s strongest defenses. The Seminoles give up only 15.2 points a game, 4th best in the country, and sport a top ten ranking in rush defense and total defense as well.
The Irish have 25 days before they do battle in Orlando, giving Notre Dame a chance to develop some of their youth before one last chance to win a football game against a blue-chip opponent.