While a matchup between Florida State and Notre Dame does not quite carry the cache that it once did, the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl does signal the first time these teams have met since 2003. A lot has clearly changed since then, with both building solid teams that showed promise but fell short of expectations. OK, so maybe not all that much has changed.
Elite matchup or not, this game is not without intrigue. Both teams come in at 8-4 and the Fighting Irish have a chance to win more games than any year since 2006, the last time they were in a BCS bowl.
The two teams come in with relatively stout defenses. The Seminoles have allowed just 15.7 points per game (the fourth lowest average in the nation) and the Irish are allowing 20.9 (29th).
Game date, time: 5:30 pm ET, Thursday, Dec. 29
Location: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
TV channel: ESPN/ESPN3
Spread: Florida State favored by 3.5
Series history: Florida State leads 4-2