The 2013 Orange Bowl is just hours away. We’re sure you have so many questions. We’re here to help. (For an X’s and O’s breakdown, click through to Pete Thamel’s game preview.)
• What’s all this, then? We have come at last to the final fruit bowl of the season, the most important fruit bowl of the season and the only citrus-themed game that doesn’t get mixed up with any other citrus-themed games. It’s also the only currently operating game with a plush fruit mascot — one that’s seen its share of gridiron action:
• Where will this game be played? This is where it gets tricky again. Not at the Orange Bowl. With the exception of the 1999 game, the Orange Bowl has been played at Sun Life Stadium since 1996. Is this the stadium that used to be named after Jimmy Buffett’s beer? It sure is, and if this is not your favorite Orange Bowl fact we cannot be friends. Sun Life Stadium also houses the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes.
• When is it on television? Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, with internet favorite Joe Tessitore, internet un-favorite Matt Millen and sideline reporter Maria “MVP” Taylor. I have never heard that nickname for Maria Taylor before. We bestowed it on her the day before yesterday, right after she gifted the internet with this photo of Matt Millen admiring a portrait of Drake.
• Whom does it feature? The ACC champion, unless that team is otherwise occupied by the national title game.
• What about this year? The Florida State Seminoles meet the BCS-bustin’ Northern Illinois Huskies.
• Does the bowl have a social media presence? It is real, and it is salty:
Not driving as fast this year… twitter.com/OrangeBowl/sta…
— Orange Bowl (@OrangeBowl) December 30, 2012
• What wacky activities will the teams be subjected to this week? For some players, the fun started early:
Holy tattoo. NIU LB Victor Jacques got a massive tatt to celebrate NIU’s OB appearance. Took 4 hours. twitter.com/SIPeteThamel/s…
— Pete Thamel(@SIPeteThamel) December 28, 2012
For the rest, a trip to south Florida means personal watercraft frolics:
— Orange Bowl (@OrangeBowl) December 27, 2012
• What’s the pick? Stewart Mandel picks … an NIU upset! “On paper, there’s no reason to pick NIU in this game. It’s implausible that Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch (364.1 yards per game, No. 3 nationally) can extend his streak of 11 straight 100-yard rushing games against the nation’s No. 4 rushing defense (2.8 yards per carry). But after all the criticism NIU has received for its inclusion, it just feels like this has the makings of Boise State-Oklahoma Part II.”
• Please impart any additional knowledge you may have concerning the 2013 Orange Bowl. Check out this pinafore-ful photo from Miami’s first Orange Bowl Festival in 1933 for helpful fashion tips prior to tonight’s game.