Florida State and Notre Dame play Thursday in a Champs Sports Bowl that features faded powers seemingly headed in opposite directions with second-year coaches.
The Seminoles are thought to be on their way up with Jimbo Fisher, the Irish stuck in perpetual mediocrity with Brian Kelly.
But is that accurate? It's been six years since Florida State reached a BCS bowl. It's been seven years since Florida State lost fewer than four games in a season.
In that same season, 2005, that FSU reached the Orange Bowl, Notre Dame made the Fiesta Bowl. Then went to the Sugar Bowl the next year.
Both teams are 8-4 this season. Florida State was ranked No. 5 when it hosted OU on Sept. 17. The Seminoles played tough, lost 23-13 and started struggling. FSU lost at Clemson, at Wake Forest and home to Virginia.
Among the Seminoles' eight wins are victories Louisiana-Monroe, Charleston Southern, Duke and Maryland.
Notre Dame hasn't faced a murderer's row, but the Irish played a better schedule than did Florida State.
The truth is, the Irish under Kelly are playing a lot like they did under Charlie Weis. But it's also true that the Seminoles' Fisher era looks a lot like the later years of Bobby Bowden.
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