The 2016 Orange Bowl will be played at Hard Rock Stadium, a place Florida State knows all too well. Including a road victory over Miami earlier in 2016, the ‘Noles are a perfect 7-0 at Joe Robbie-Pro Player-Dolphins-Dolphin-Land Shark-Sun Life-Hard Rock stadium since 2006. Its last defeat in that venue was in the 2005 Orange Bowl against Penn State.
In comparison, this will be Michigan’s second time ever at the complex. U of M’s first game there was a win over Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl. The Wolverines lost the 1976 Orange Bowl, their only other appearance in Miami-Dade County. U of M does have recent experience in-state, playing five of its last six bowl games in Florida and holding a 2-3 record in those games.
The ‘Noles play in the stadium at least once every two years, not including any Orange Bowl appearances. In total, FSU has played 10 games at the facility. The question is however, will that give the ‘Noles an advantage over Michigan?
Although one would believe it to play a factor in the 2016 Orange Bowl, the Florida State players had mixed reactions when asked about it.
From a standpoint of comfort and familiarity, junior defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi said he feels it gives a little advantage to the ‘Noles. The Virginia native also noted that the Florida State fans traveling and attending the Orange Bowl will give FSU an advantage.
“A little bit, I guess, because we know what the stadium looks like, what the grass feels like,” junior defensive back Trey Marshall said when pressed on if it presents an advantage. However, when looking at it as a whole, Marshall stated, “It’s not really an advantage to anybody.”
DeMarcus Walker, senior defensive end, said bluntly, “I don’t think so. Michigan is a great team and I think they’ll come prepared.”
On the other hand, other defenders have put the Wolverines on notice. “Michigan definitely has to come to play,” sophomore defensive back Tarvarus McFadden noted. We’re coming to play on Friday.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh won his only appearance at Hard Rock Stadium with Stanford. His counterpart, Jimbo Fisher, has never lost in Miami Gardens, Florida, currently sitting at 5-0 in the seventh year of his head coaching career.
The 2016 Orange Bowl is scheduled for December 30th at 8 PM.