It is said there is a first time for everything. So it goes for the Mountain State's bowl-bound major college football teams.
West Virginia, by virtue of its Bowl Championship tiebreaker in a Big East Conference three-team championship, is headed to the Jan. 4 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, against Clemson (10-3), which throttled Virginia Tech for the ACC title.
WVU (9-3) has played 30 games in 14 bowls in history, but never an Orange. The Mountaineers' only date with Clemson was a 1989 Gator Bowl loss to the nation's No. 14 team.
Marshall heads to the fourth annual Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl to meet Florida International (8-4), a solid, home-state fill-in from the Sun Belt Conference because the Big East didn't have a sixth bowl qualifier.
The Dec. 20 date under the Tropicana Field dome is the Herd's first trip to the St. Petersburg game, where Conference USA has an 0-3 history (losses by Memphis, UCF, Southern Mississippi).
It's also Marshall's first bowl in Florida in more than six decades.
Sounds like a couple of competitive games to me.
While WVU will be making its third BCS game appearance (wins over Georgia and Oklahoma) in seven years - under three coaches - Clemson, somewhat surprisingly, is in a BCS game for the first time in the series' 14-year history.
The Tigers and Fiesta-bound Oklahoma State are the BCS newcomers for the 2012 games, bringing the number of schools to 47 in the BCS, which morphed from the Bowl Alliance in the 1998 season.
And for the first time, the ACC - with a 2-11 BCS record - got an at-large bid, as the Hokies landed in the Sugar Bowl, which replaced its two national title game teams in the SEC-hosted bowl with Tech and Michigan.
Clemson and WVU, 15th and 23rd in the final BCS standings, are the two lowest in the 10-team field, joined by teams that finished Nos. 1-5 (LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon), 10 (Wisconsin), 11 (Virginia Tech) and 13 (Michigan).
And speaking of firsts, the Orange Bowl said Sunday that WVU's Dana Holgorsen is only the second coach to guide a team to the 77-year bowl in his first season as a head coach. The other was Chuck Fairbanks, who coached Oklahoma to a 26-24 win over Tennessee to close the 1967 season.
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.
(Speaking of the Big 12, the final BCS top 25 included six teams that will play in the Big 12 with the Mountaineers in future seasons. That's why getting in a BCS game may have been more crucial for WVU this time.)