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The 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl will feature #3 Penn State vs. #22 Florida State on Tuesday, January 3rd. (2005)
On Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006, the two most winning coaches in NCAA Division 1A Football history are gonna clash for only the third time when 79-year-old Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions of Penn State take on Bobby Bowden's Seminoles of Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
A couple of weeks ago, after FSU had won the Atlantic division of the ACC, but had lost back-to-back games to unranked opponents, I joked to Candy, "Wouldn't it be funny if FSU won the ACC Championship game and went to a BCS bowl ranked #20 or, even worse, unranked?" She chuckled in agreement, but we both knew it wouldn't happen. FSU's goose was cooked, especially after the humiliation in The Swamp last week against the Gators.
Well (I think you know where this is going)...
First, I went outside where Candy was re-arranging some stuff in the backyard and told her, "It's official: Paterno vs. Bowden."
She cursed under her breath about it not being fair and then she asked me, "Are you guys even ranked?"
"Oh, I'm sure we're ranked," I replied. "We did just beat the #5 team in the country."
She gave me a stare.
"Let me go check," I said and hurried back into the house to check the CNNSI web site.
A few minutes later, I came out with a straight face and asked her aloud, "Are you ready for your number of the day?"
She turned to look at me and I burst out laughing. As I started to double-over, she demanded, "What are you guys ranked?"
I stopped laughing for a moment, took a deep breath and blurted out, "22," and started laughing all over again at the look of disgust on her face.
"22?!?!" she yelled.
About ten seconds later, I stopped laughing again and said, "That's right. #3 Penn State is going to be playing #22 Florida State in the Orange Bowl on January 3rd."
I've been dreaming of this kind of match-up for years, and it's hard to believe we're actually going to see it.
Though Bowden's 359 career coaching wins surpass Paterno's 353, JoePa has 20 bowl wins to Bowden's 19. Statistically and relatively speaking, these two are practically dead even in stats and this is going to be an outstanding game. Last nite, when Bobby was told he might be playing Joe Paterno in the Orange Bowl, he jokingly replied, "Is that so? I might not even show up."
Once Candy got over her initial disgust, we started making plans. We figure all our Christmas money is gonna be spent on Orange Bowl merchandise, so if you were hoping to find something real cool under the tree from us, well, better luck next year!
I've already declared that the majority of the house will decorated in garnet and gold, though I will be a benevolent head of the household and permit one modest, blue and white item in each room.
Wish me luck with the enforcement.
Later, when I was talking with my Candy and my brother-in-law George, I pointed out that Penn State is in a no-win situation. If they beat FSU, everyone will say, "So what? They were the 22nd ranked team in the country." And if they lose... well, you know.
This is going to be the most anticipatory month of December I've experienced since I was a kid.
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