Notre Dame and Florida State are not too far removed from being part of college football's elite.
But the Irish (8-4) and No. 25 Seminoles (8-4) are working to get back where they once were.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher both said that Thursday's Champs Sports Bowl matchup in Orlando, Fla., has helped them keep their programs moving back to the upper echelon.
Kelly focused on the extra practice time to help turn the Irish into a future national title contender.
"I think it starts with the ability to keep your football team together for another month," Kelly said at a news conference Wednesday. "The ability to build more relationships and bonds with your players. You are still evaluating and giving opportunities to freshmen that may not have that chance to go out and prove themselves. I think there's a lot of things that go into having a bowl game.
"The one game itself as a win, loss is not going to change the direction of your program. It certainly is going to make you feel good in the offseason, but all of those other things are much more important than one game."
Fisher looked past just the bowl preparation and talked about getting the right players together, staying healthy and understanding that teams have to rebuild to return to the top.
"I think recruiting, a little bit of luck and staying healthy," Fisher said. "I think you have to understand the culture. You went through 10 years of not really being on top. It's not three years or two years, it's been 10. You have to understand that mentality, and you have to get back to where you are winning 10 or 11 games.
"I'm very pleased with where we are going. I think we are recruiting. I think we will have a great year next year."