Few can match Andy’s winsome combination of wit, snark, and charm, and I have really enjoyed his takes on these bowl games. That said, y’all are stuck with me today. (Sorry!) My original plan was just to write “Beat FSU” hundreds of times but I instead went ahead and actually previewed this bowl.
Capital One Orange Bowl
What: The Orange Bowl has a storied history, having been in operation every year since 1935. The Sun Bowl and the Orange Bowl both share the distinction of being the second oldest bowl games in the country, behind only “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl.
Who: The 2016 Capital One Orange Bowl features the Michigan Wolverines and the Florida State Seminoles. How excited are you to watch a team we all immensely dislike play a team that throttled us in last year’s bowl game, and that many Gator fans seem terrified of opening next season with? Both of these teams had somewhat disappointing seasons after starting the year with playoff aspirations. Michigan unexpectedly lost to Iowa, and had their hopes dashed in an overtime loss to Ohio State to end the season. But the Wolverines can finish with 11 wins, provided they beat the ‘Noles, which would put this year’s team in Ann Arbor in a class with some of Michigan’s best. The Seminoles lost a few games themselves over the season. There was the historic thumping at Louisville, the UNC kicker tomahawk-chopping field goal that punctuated a home loss to North Carolina, and a tight home defeat to Clemson. But FSU did end their season with four straight wins and would probably like to keep that momentum going.
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, which is located in Miami Gardens, Florida. The oft-renamed venue is home to the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes. Corporate naming rights had previously given us Pro Player Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, and Sun Life Stadium.
When: 8:00 p.m., December 30, on ESPN, or streaming via WatchESPN. The past three years this game has been played on December 30 or December 31, coinciding with the beginning of the College Football Playoff era. Prior to that, it was always played in January.
Why and how: The Orange Bowl is a traditional bowl game with a long history, as noted above. It came to be sponsored by Capital One as part of an agreement with ESPN, beginning in 2014, which made the company the “official credit card and bank of the new College Football Playoff.” Why and how these two particular teams are playing in this bowl? Well, since 2007 the Orange Bowl has hosted the ACC Champion, unless that team was involved in the national championship game, or playoff - provided that the Orange Bowl is not the host of one of those games. If the ACC champion qualifies for the playoff, then the next highest-ranked ACC team takes their spot. Thus we get 9-3 Florida State representing the conference. The secondary tie-ins for the game are with the SEC and the Big 10
What do the players get? Gift suite, Tourneau watch, and Schutt mini-helmet.
How much is that worth? Really depends on what is available in that gift suite. A quick google of “Tourneau watch,” which I admittedly had never heard of before, noted that Tourneau is a retailer of premium and luxury watches. They offer more affordable brands such as G Shock, Nixon, and Citizen, as well as luxury brands such as Rolex and Breitling, and have a large collection of pre-owned watches for sale. Schmutt mini-helmets appear to cost around $20.
Should I watch? Far be it from me to ever advocate that anyone actually watch the Florida State Seminoles. Listening to the sound of tomahawk chopping for three-plus hours is a special kind of misery. But, also, it’s real live college football featuring two good teams, and there are no other games on. So I’d go ahead and give this one a look.