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2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia's Roster Features Lots Of South Florida Talent

Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail has a bunch of interesting tidbits regarding the 2012 Orange Bowl matchup between West Virginia and Clemson, including this.

It’s also a homecoming for those Miami-area Mountaineers, led by quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Stedman Bailey, not to mention a sweet swansong for West Virginia from the Big East – which it needs to officially exit soon if the Big 12 is going to be able to accommodate WVU in scheduling next season.

There should be plenty of interesting story lines here, including the Miami ties of Smith, Bailey, Ivan McCartney and other players. A ton of the WVU roster is from South Florida, and Smith, Bailey and McCartney are all from Miramar High.

Here’s Dana Holgorsen on WVU’s ties to the area.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the West Virginia University football program to be able to go to the Orange Bowl for the first time and to be able to come to South Florida,” said Mountaineers Coach Dana Holgorsen, who already is the school’s first first-year coach to win nine regular season games and can become the first first-year coach to win 10 games. “That’s been an important recruiting territory for us, obviously, as it is for a whole lot of other people. It’s going to be a great matchup.”

The Orange Bowl will also, presumably, be WVU’s last in the Big East, as it prepares to depart to the Big 12 next season. They’ll be leaving as champions. I wouldn’t expect there to be too many bittersweet farewells – if anything, we saw a lot more of that in the Backyard Brawl a couple weeks ago. But this game will be WVU’s last before embarking on a weird new adventure in south.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.