Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Orange Picks Miami; Sugar Takes Fla. St

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Orange Picks Miami; Sugar Takes Fla. St

Article excerpt

It's official.

Top-ranked Nebraska will play No. 4 Miami in the Orange Bowl, No. 7 Florida State will meet the Alabama-Florida winner in the Sugar Bowl, Texas Tech will face No. 21 Southern Cal in the Cotton Bowl and No. 5 Colorado will play Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

The matchups were announced Monday, six days before the original date scheduled by the bowl coalition.

Bowl officials announced the pairings early because they didn't anticipate major changes in the rankings after Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game between No. 3 Alabama and No. 6 Florida. There could have been a shake-up if Alabama trounced Florida and moved up to No. 1, but that seemed highly unlikely.

"If there was any chance of that happening, we would have waited," said Keith Tribble, executive director of the Orange Bowl. "But since we don't think it will, we decided to make it official and give everybody more time to plan their trips."

For the second year in succession, an undefeated Nebraska team will play for the national championship in the Orange Bowl. Last January, the No. 2 Cornhuskers lost to No. 1 Florida State 18-16.

Based on past performance at the Orange Bowl, Miami (10-1) should be favored over Nebraska (12-0). The Hurricanes are 62-1 on their home field over the past decade, while the Cornhuskers have lost five in a row at the Orange Bowl, including three to Miami by a combined 76-33.

"To play Nebraska here in the Orange Bowl is a goal we've had all year," Hurricanes coach Dennis Erickson said. "We're happy to have the opportunity to play one of the great teams in country."

The Sugar Bowl selected Florida State (9-1-1) to play the SEC champion, even though it sets up a potential rematch against Florida (9-1-1). The Seminoles overcame a 28-point deficit in the fourth quarter Saturday to tie the Gators 31-31.

"If that (rematch) happens, we're billing it as `Overtime and the Sugar Bowl,' " bowl President Chuck Zatarain said. …

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