December 5, 2010 - by
Rivalry Renewed

Dec. 5, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State will ring in the New Year while reacquainting itself with an old rival in the 43rd edition of the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The 23rd-ranked Seminoles (9-4) will meet No. 19 South Carolina (9-4) in the bowl’s first match-up between ACC and SEC runner-ups.

“With two nationally ranked teams and a regional rivalry built in, this is obviously one of the best bowl match-ups on the boards this year,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO.

Florida State is making its nation-leading 29th consecutive bowl appearance, which is the second longest streak in NCAA history, behind Nebraska’s 35.

The Seminoles, who played in the inaugural bowl game in 1968, will be making their third bowl appearance in Atlanta and first since 1983. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, however, is no stranger when it comes to the Chick-fil-A Bowl and its venue, dating to his years as an SEC assistant at both Auburn and LSU.

“I’ve been to that bowl three or four times in my career,” Fisher said. “They do a phenomenal job. Anything involved with Chick-fil-A, they’re first class. … It’s one of the best bowl games you can go to, the way they treat you, the hospitality. Atlanta is a great town and playing in the dome, it’s a great environment there and it’s a great atmosphere. And again, playing an SEC foe, so we’ll have a great opponent and look forward to that challenge.”

Florida State and South Carolina were long-time rivals as football independents. The Seminoles hold a 15-3 series lead over the Gamecocks, but the two programs have not met since 1991; the year before they joined the ACC and SEC, respectively.

The New Year’s Eve game will be televised unopposed in prime time (7:30 p.m.) on ESPN.

“Everyone – the Florida State players, coaches, staff, alumni and fans – are extremely excited about going to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve,” FSU Director of Athletics Randy Spetman said. “We have a tremendous alumni base in Atlanta that is ecstatic we are returning to the bowl for the first time since 1983. It’s going to be a fantastic event and a great way to bring in the New Year. We are really looking forward to the Chick-fil-A Bowl to cap an outstanding season and serve as a launching point for next season, as well.”

Both the Seminoles and Gamecocks accepted invitations to the Chick-fil-A Bowl one day after playing in their respective conference championship games. FSU closed out its regular season with three consecutive victories and locked down the ACC’s Atlantic Division title before falling to Virginia Tech, 44-33, in Saturday’s championship game in Charlotte. South Carolina won five of its final six regular season games to wrap up the SEC East before suffering a 56-17 loss to top-ranked Auburn in the conference championship game at the Georgia Dome.

The Gamecocks, under the direction of former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, are making their first Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance since 1969.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl is the ninth-oldest in the country and hosts the longest-running rivalry series between the ACC and the SEC. The bowl game has been a sellout for 13 years running; a streak its organizers expect to extend with this year’s marquee matchup.

Florida State fans have a long-standing tradition of turning out in force at bowl games. The Seminoles have been a part of five bowl attendance records in their last six bowl appearances.

FSU has been allotted 18,000 tickets to the game. While priority will be given to Seminole Boosters members and season ticket holders, tickets are being offered to all Seminole fans. Ticket requests can be made at immediately, or beginning Monday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 a.m. through the Seminole ticket office by calling 1-888-378-6653.

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