No, Connecticut couldn’t come through and beat Cincinnati, so the Orange Bowl dreams were dashed Saturday. But no one’s complaining about Charlie Strong’s football team, which will take on North Carolina State Dec. 27 in Charlotte.
Here’s Tom Jurich’s take on the trip, from the U of L web site. “We are very excited for the opportunity to bring our football team and fans to the Belk Bowl,” University Vice President/Athletic Director, Tom Jurich, said. “Charlotte is a wonderful city, and we are playing in an NFL stadium against a high-quality opponent in NC State. Charlotte is close in proximity for our fans and could be an easy drive after the Christmas holiday. This game is a reward for a great coaching job by Charlie (Strong) and the staff, and a great reward for our team, which exceeded everyone’s expectations and won the BIG EAST title. It’s also a great reward for our fans to travel to a great destination to see two very good teams face off against one another.”
Cincinnati’s win against Connecticut means it will face Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. West Virginia won the three-way tie for the BCS spot from the Big East, and gets the trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl. wherre it will face Clemson. The Pinstripe Bowl in New York announced that Rutgers, from the Big East, will take on Iowa State. Pitt got the bid to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, against SMU.
The Cards play on Tuesday after Christmas at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Panthers. The game, formerly known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl, has already sold 43,000 tickets, according to the Charlotte Observer. N.C. State is 7-5, becoming bowl eligible with late-season wins against Clemson and Maryland.
It looks like Western Kentucky, at 7-5, is getting bypassed by the bowls. There are 70 slots, and 72 bowl-eligible teams. The Sun Belt Conference got two bids, but third-place Louisiana-Lafayette was selected above 2nd-place Western for the New Orleans Bowl.