WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH THE CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
For one thing, there will not be too many more bowl games involving Bobby Bowden. You never know if this could be the last one. Bowden won't tip his hand. But there is also some intrigue in the fact Florida State rarely plays Big 10 teams and has never played Wisconsin. Don't forget, the game is also two days after Christmas when there are not a lot of sports events on TV.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
DE Everette Brown finished a runner-up for ACC defensive player of the year. He finished third nationally with 12.5 sacks and second nationally in tackles for loss with 20.5. After being selected the team's defensive MVP for the season, Brown will be playing his last college game. Brown has made it clear he's pondering the NFL Draft.
PK Graham Gano set several school kicking records, leading to his selection as the Lou Groza Award winner. Considering he is also the team's punter and has been proficient in that role, Gano likely will leave as the greatest overall kicker in Florida State history.
QB Christian Ponder was selected the team's offensive MVP at a postseason awards banquet. Although he played poorly against Florida, Ponder has a chance to win a bowl game and provide a good feeling about his future and the team's future heading into 2009.
TB Antone Smith will be playing his final game for Florida State, and if the Seminoles are to win, they have to run the ball effectively. Smith will be playing close enough to his hometown in Pahokee, Fla., for many family and friends to attend.
--Several players were held out as Florida State began its bowl practices on Dec. 11. WR Preston Parker (ankle), WR Rod Owens (groin) and WR Taiwan Easterling (ankle) have been hampered, but all are expected to be ready to play in the bowl game. Florida State will practice twice daily until Dec. 19. The team will then have a long weekend off before reconvening in Orlando on Dec. 22. The Seminoles will spend Christmas in a hotel room with families.
--It looks as if only DE Everette Brown will leave early for an NFL career. WR Preston Parker and CB Patrick Robinson have both declared they are definitely returning -- not that either one was being highly rated by NFL scouts.
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