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Tuesday, January 3 : 7:00 PM CST : ABC

Some call this the biggest mismatch of the BCS this year, but don't think for a second that this matchup is not intriguing. Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno are the best long-term coaches in the history of football according to career victories. Paterno was left for dead as far as coaching is concerned after five bad years, but his return to glory and an AP Coach of the Year award has swept the nation. While Florida State did a whole lot of nothing between nice bookend victories at the beginning of the season against Miami and the end of the season against Virginia Tech, Penn State was one second at The Big House away from 11-0 and BCS chaos. Each team has something to prove: FSU has to show it belongs in the BCS, and Penn State has to prove they are a national power again by winning their first ever BCS game.

In a year when the Big Ten had an offensive resurgence unseen in many years, Penn State won the conference the old fashioned way: defense and running. This was a different type of running however, as QB Michael Robinson is a threat on the ground as well as through the air. Tony Hunt is also dangerous on the ground, and the Nittany Lions are hard to stop. Penn State had a fair share of struggles on the road this season, but the crowd should favor PSU considering their lack of BCS history. This could be a huge boost for the offense, and look for Penn State to score quite a few points if the Seminoles have an off day defensively.

Florida State has a tough task on offense, as Penn State boasts one of the best defenses in the country. Defensive end Tamba Hali and linebacker Paul Posluzney are very difficult to stop, so Drew Weatherford could be in for a lot of running around to save his skin. Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington are talented running backs, but I do not expect Florida State to have much success considering the Big Ten has many stronger rushing teams that were stopped by the Lions. Weatherford looked good against Virginia Tech, and he will need to keep his composure since the passing game will be the key to scoring on the Nittany Lions' defense.

SCS.comWhen defense is important to a game as it is in this one, special teams play an extra special role in giving good field position for the offenses to work with. Penn State holds an edge in this department overall, but Florida State's kickers have a lot of experience from a long season of mediocre red zone possessions. Penn State beat Ohio State due to a couple of Buckeye mistakes and good field position all night, and I expect Joe Paterno to try and win this game the same way. Neither team can afford any mistakes on special teams if they hope to win this year's Orange Bowl.

The final aspect of this game is coaching, and you could not ask for better leaders on either side. Paterno and Bowden have won more games than anyone else, and they have both seen a fair share of bowl successes. Bowden understands how to get his team prepared for BCS games, but Paterno will have his guys motivated and ready to go as well. Paterno likes running and defense, and he has a few more tricks up his sleeve than he used to. I do not expect either of these old greats to out-coach the other, but Paterno does seem to hold the better hand going in. We will see if Paterno can close the gap in wins between the two coaches even more with a win in the Orange Bowl, but Penn State has had a great season and will be a force to be reckoned with in future years regardless of the result. We may never see these two coaches face each other again, so enjoy the moment as we finish up the BCS schedule before the Grandaddy of them all.

Staff Predictions:
Jonathan David Reed Cortney Jeff
Penn State Penn State Penn State Penn State Penn State

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