Jim Harbaugh is sure Stanford fans will show up for the Orange Bowl.
Even though the Cardinal are playing some 2,500 miles away from the home stadium they don't always fill, Harbaugh is confident.
"We sold 8,000 tickets in one morning after the announcement," Harbaugh said. "That's more tickets than we sold last year to the Sun Bowl. And that was only the first 12 hours. Our fans and alumni are really excited about this trip, so I think they'll turn out for us."
No. 5 Stanford (11-1), whose only loss of the season was to undefeated Oregon (52-31), has already received ticket requests from alumni located as far away as Moscow after one of the best seasons in school history.
For the 12th-ranked Hokies, an ACC title and Orange Bowl appearance is almost business as usual — this is their third trip to South Florida in four seasons.
Led by ACC player of the year, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech won 11 straight after losing its opener to Boise State and FCS team James Madison.
"I think it's going to be two great quarterbacks, two teams who have really worked hard and play very similar — tough and hard-nose," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "It has the makings of a great football game. We look forward to giving it our best shot."
Harbaugh's first Orange Bowl experience was as a 12-year-old when the family accompanied his father, then a coach at Michigan, to the game.
For Harbaugh, that trip was as much about seeing his first coconut, and a visit to Disney World, as it was about football.
This time, Harbaugh's Orange Bowl trip will be all business.
"To bring a team here, myself, is a great honor and to play in such a traditional bowl as the Orange Bowl," Harbaugh said. "Our single focus and purpose for coming down to this game will be to bring back the Orange Bowl trophy."
- coach Frank Beamer
- Jim Harbaugh
- FCS team James Madison
- first Orange Bowl
- the Cardinal