According to Jim Lamar, sports editor for the Tallahasee Democrat, FSU quarterback Christian Ponder will not start in tonight's championship game:
FSU QB Christian Ponder not expected to start tonight. Ponder available if needed but Fisher wants to give him chance to heal.
An elbow injury has plagued Ponder through the last few games. After beating Florida last week, the senior quarterback missed some practice time and had his elbow drained.
If the report holds up and Ponder is unable to play, redshirt sophomore EJ Manuel will get the snaps for the Seminoles. Manuel started four games last year, and started in FSU's win over Clemson in November.
Manuel, a native of Virginia, completed 69 of 106 passes in 2009 for 817 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. This season, he is 31 of 47 for 489 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
If Ponder is unable to go, Manuel is not your typical backup in that he has had significant playing time already. But Christian is a senior and one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and I would be surprised if he doesn't battle through the pain and get at least some playing time.