N.C. State, UNC, Wake Forest among 8 ACC teams going bowling

acarter@newsobserver.comDecember 4, 2011 

N.C. State's C.J. Wilson (20), bottom, Terrell Manning (35) and Earl Wolff (27), center, along with the rest of the team celebrate their 56-41 victory over Maryland at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.

ETHAN HYMAN — ETHAN HYMAN - ehyman@newsobserver.com

  • Game: Belk Bowl

    Matchup: N.C. State vs. Louisville
    Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
    When: Dec. 27, 8 p.m.
    Tickets: Can be purchased online at gopack.com or through the N.C. State ticket office ( 919-865-1510). Tickets range from $40-$95.

    Game: Independence Bowl

    Matchup: North Carolina vs. Missouri
    Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
    When: Dec. 26, 5 p.m.
    Tickets: UNC has encouraged Tar Heels fans to purchase them on the school’s official athletic website, tarheelblue.com. Tickets start at $37.

    Game: Music City Bowl

    Matchup: Wake Forest vs. Mississippi State
    Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.
    When: Dec. 30, 6:40 p.m.
    Tickets: Wake Forest’s official athletic website, wakeforestsports.com, will have ticket and travel package information available on Monday.

N.C. State won’t have to travel far to play in its third bowl game in the past four seasons. The Wolfpack, who became bowl eligible with a wild come from behind victory against Maryland last weekend, will play against Louisville in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27.

N.C. State is one of eight ACC teams that will play in a postseason game. North Carolina will play against Missouri on Dec. 26 in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., and Wake Forest will play against Mississippi State on Dec. 30 in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.

For the first time in the 14-year history of the BCS, the ACC will have two teams playing in BCS bowls. Clemson, which beat Virginia Tech in the conference championship game on Saturday, will play against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. The Hokies, meanwhile, will face Michigan in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3.

The Tar Heels will be playing in a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season.

“I'm excited for our players, especially this group of seniors, to advance to a bowl game for the fourth straight season,” UNC coach Everett Withers said in a statement released by the school. “Despite some challenging circumstances, this team continued to work hard and prepare each week for the next game.

“We now have a chance to win eight games for the fourth-straight year and win our second consecutive bowl game.”

The Tar Heels preserved through challenging circumstances to reach the postseason. They played under the shadow of an NCAA investigation that led to the firing of their coach, Butch Davis, before the start of the season. Withers took over on an interim basis and guided UNC to its 29th bowl appearance, and first in the Independence Bowl.

The Wolfpack overcame its own set of difficult circumstances to earn a bowl bid for the 26th time. After a season-opening victory against Liberty, N.C. State lost three of its next four games. But the Pack won three of its final four games, and rallied from a 41-14 third-quarter deficit to defeat Maryland – a victory that made N.C. State bowl eligible.

“Our team is thrilled about the opportunity to play in the Belk Bowl,” Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said in a statement released by the school. “This is a great reward for their tenacity and refusal to give up this season.”

After missing the postseason the past two seasons, Wake Forest earned its fifth trip to a bowl game under coach Jim Grobe, who has led the Demon Deacons to more bowl appearances than any coach in school history. Wake started the season 5-2 but lost four of its final five games.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be playing in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl,” Grobe said in a statement released by the school. “… Traveling to Nashville during the Christmas holiday will be a great experience for our families and the players.”

Since 2005, 58 ACC teams have been invited to postseason games. The Southeastern Conference, with 61 teams, is the only conference that has had more bowl teams during that span.

Carter: 919-829-8944

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service