Duke won’t have to travel far for its first bowl game since 1994.
Sunday night, the Blue Devils accepted an invitation to the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl, held in Charlotte. The Blue Devils (6-6) will play Cincinnati (9-3), the co-champion and representative from the Big East Conference, at 6:30 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN. Both teams will be making their first appearance in the 11-year-old bowl.
“It’s something our players have been hoping for,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said of the bowl assignment. “We appreciate the Belk Bowl for giving us this opportunity.”
The Belk Bowl will be the ninth bowl game in Duke history and first since the Blue Devils lost 34-20 to Wisconsin in the now-defunct Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Fla, following the 1994 season. Duke is 3-5 all-time in bowl games with its last win coming in the 1960 Cotton Bowl, a 7-6 victory over Arkansas.
The Bearcats will be playing in their 14th bowl game and sixth in the past seven seasons. Cincinnati beat Vanderbilt in the 2011 Liberty Bowl and is 7-6 in postseason play.
“Duke has made great strides this season and we are very proud to have them representing the ACC against the co-champions of the Big East,” said Will Webb, executive director of the Belk Bowl. “We feel that the Blue Devils will provide a good matchup against the Bearcats in Charlotte. We look forward to hosting both Duke and Cincinnati, and their fans, for the 2012 Belk Bowl and all the surrounding events.”
The Blue Devils and the Bearcats have one common opponent – Virginia Tech. Cincinnati beat the Hokies 27-24 on Sept. 29. After going up 20-0 on the Hokies, Duke lost 41-20 in Blacksburg, Va., on Oct. 13.
After some practice this weekend, the Blue Devils will reconvene for bowl game preparation starting Dec. 16 and depart for Charlotte Dec. 22.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Cutcliffe said. “I’m thrilled for our seniors, fan base and staff.”