Florida State vs. West Virginia
The Mountaineers (9-3) might feel like the underdogs in this game, or at least cast in the role of villains, given the dominant story line — FSU icon Bobby Bowden, who spent 10 years in Morgantown, the last six as the head coach, is retiring after this game. But West Virginia is the favorite if you simply look at what both teams did on the field. Even Bowden said his team was fortunate to be in the game at 6-6, while the Mountaineers "earned" their spot. They are No. 18 in the media poll after pulling out wins against Pittsburgh and Rutgers to close the regular season. RB Noel Devine, a first-team All-Big East pick, is a dynamic game-changer; he rushed for 1,297 yards (a 5.8 average) and scored 12 touchdowns. FSU senior S Jamie Robinson likened him to Clemson back C.J. Spiller. (Yeah, not good memories for Florida State fans.)
What to watch for …
Former St. Petersburg Catholic star WR Jock Sanders is another diminutive playmaker for fifth-year senior Jarrett Brown. The Mountaineers QB waited for Pat White to graduate to get his shot to start this year. Brown, a dual threat, threw for 2,129 yards and ran for 423 yards and accounted for 15 touchdowns. Defensively, West Virginia has had its moments, limiting four opponents to fewer than 300 yards.
Brian Landman, Times staff writer