by Mike Potter
Both N.C. State and UNC have received their expected bowl bids, with the Wolfpack headed South and the Tar Heels going West.
The Tar Heels (7-5, 4-4 ACC) will be traveling to Nashville to take on Tennessee (6-6, 3-5 SEC), which rallied to win its final four games of the season to become bowl eligible, in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at 6:30 (ESPN).
State will be bowl-bound for the second time in Tom O’Brien’s four seasons at the helm.
“The Champs Sports Bowl is always run in a first-class manner,” NCSU athletic director Debbie Yow said. “Orlando is also the perfect place to be in late December with Wolfpack family and friends, for a terrific matchup against West Virginia.”
West Virginia leads the all-time series with the Wolfpack 5-4, including one win apiece in two bowl meetings.
“Our team could not be more excited about the opportunity to play in the Champs Sports Bowl," O'Brien said. “A trip to Orlando is a great reward for their hard work this season and we’re happy to have a quality opponent like West Virginia. We hope that our fans will paint the town red.”
The game in Nashville will mark the Tar Heels’ third straight bowl appearance.
“I’m excited our program has an opportunity to play (in the bowl game),” UNC athletic director Dick Baddour said. “I congratulate our student-athletes and coaching staff for their hard work, determination and perseverance this season. Our fans have been tremendous this year, setting a school record for average attendance (58,250). This bowl game is another fantastic opportunity to support this Tar Heel team and recognize the accomplishments of an outstanding senior class.”
UNC and Tennessee will be facing off for the 32nd time and the first since 1961. The Volunteers lead the series 20-10-1.
“I congratulate our team, and especially the 17 seniors, for the extraordinary job they’ve done in leading our program to a third consecutive bowl appearance,” UNC coach Butch Davis said. “Regardless of the situation, this team fought week after week to make our fans proud. We look forward to representing North Carolina against a talented Tennessee team.”