MORGANTOWN-No one could be more excited that West Virginia (9-3) will be playing Clemson (10-3) in the Orange Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 4, than Geno Smith.
The Mountaineers' 6-foot-3, 214-pound junior quarterback is from Miami, Fla., and he definitely will feel very much at home.
"Yes, I'm very excited about going home to play in the Orange Bowl. I played in that stadium as a Little Leaguer," he recalled.
"I'll get some time with all my family and see some of my friends.
"After visiting over Christmas, then I will get back to business in football. I'll feel right at home down there."
The all-Big East first- team selection has shattered school passing and total offense records this season. He's confident that the team has a good chance to beat Clemson.
The Tigers lost three straight games late in the season.
But they whipped Virginia Tech handily to capture the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
"We're all confident and will be ready to go," Smith said. "We won our last three games, and all of us were relaxed and played well against South Florida."
Two of WVU's closing contests were decided by three points each and the other by just one point.
Clemson is favored by 3 points.
"I watched (the Tigers) on TV and also on some tapes," Smith said, "So I've got a feel for what they do.
"They have a good defense that plays hard. They are really good."
Asked whether he had any ill feelings about not being named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, he replied:
"No, that would be selfish of me. Cincinnati halfback Isaiah Pead deserves the honor. He's a really good player.
"My hat's off to him and the Cincinnati team. I feel like he is one of the best players in our league."
He is not disappointed in either himself or the team in the way things turned out for the Mountaineers this year.
"I do feel that I could have done a lot of things better. But I'm satisfied with the way things went," he continued.
"I'm definitely planning to come back in 2012 and, hopefully, being able to play much better than I did this year."
Smith completed 384 of 483 passes, with seven interception, for 3,978 yards and 25 touchdowns.