MORGANTOWN-West Virginia football fans may not know for months if their No. 23 Mountaineers (9-3, 5-2 Big East) will be playing in the Big 12 or the Big East nine months from now, but they found out Sunday night that their beloved old gold and blue will be making its first trip to the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
WVU's opponent will be Atlantic Coast Conference champion Clemson (10-3) after the No. 14 Tigers demolished No. 5 Virginia Tech, 38-10, during the ACC championship game on Saturday night.
"Just really an exciting opportunity for WVU's program," explained first-year Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen. "This is our third BCS bowl in the last five years, but the first time we have been invited to South Florida-an important recruiting area for us.
"I think we match up pretty good. Obviously, the two offenses are among the best in the country and the defenses have been playing very well of late."
This will mark the second meeting between the two schools. Clemson and WVU faced one another in the 1989 Mazda Gator Bowl held in Jacksonville, Fla. The Mountaineers scored first when quarterback Major Harris connected from 12 yards out with receiver James Jett. Brad Carroll's successful PAT staked WVU to an early 7-0 lead. Those, however, would also be the only points scored by WVU as Harris' last game was a 27-7 Mountaineer loss.
West Virginia earned its trip to Miami Gardens thanks to a 30-27 victory over South Florida on Thursday night. That win assured the Mountaineers of at least a share of the Big East title with Louisville, who beat WVU by a 38-35 margin during the regular season in Morgantown.
When Cincinnati beat Connecticut 35-27 on Saturday, the Bearcats also claimed a share of the Big East title, but with West Virginia the highest rated team in the BCS standings, the Big East's Bowl Champion Series bid belonged to the Mountaineers.
This will be the Mountaineers fourth straight meeting with a member of the ACC. WVU dropped a 23-7 decision to N.C. State in the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl and was beaten by Florida State, 33-21, in the 2010 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl.
West Virginia's last bowl win over the ACC occurred in 2008 when it defeated North Carolina by a 31-30 score at the Meineke Car Care Bowl-Pat White's final game as a Mountaineer.
Discover Orange Bowl ticket information
Tickets for West Virginia's appearance in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 4, in Miami Gardens, Fla., are now on sale to the general public online at WVUGAME.com
Available tickets in the WVU allotment are $99 each and can be purchased online at WVUGAME.com or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU GAME. Phone sales will begin at 9 a.m. today.
Fans purchasing tickets through the Mountaineer Ticket Office will be given an opportunity to request an upgrade of their order. Fans can requests upgrades to tickets in the WVU allotment that are priced between $120 and $165.
A limited number of lower level tickets for WVU students will be available at the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum on Monday, Dec. 5 and will be priced at $110 each. Student tickets must be purchased in person with a valid WVU ID and sales are limited to two tickets per valid student ID.