By Staff Report.
Greensboro, N.C.—For the first time in its 14 years in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), the Atlantic Coast Conference has had two teams selected to participate in BCS Bowl games in the same year. Clemson, the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion and ranked 15th in this year’s final BCS Standings, will represent the league at this year’s Discover Orange Bowl, while ACC runner-up Virginia Tech, ranked 11thin the final BCS Standings, was chosen as an at-large selection by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, it was announced Sunday.
Clemson will be making its first appearance in the Discover Orange Bowl in exactly 30 years. The 1981 Tigers clinched the school’s national championship in the old Orange Bowl Stadium, downing Nebraska 22-15 in the 1982 game.
Virginia Tech will be making its fourth appearance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, having played Florida State in the 2000 game which served as the BCS national title contest; meeting Auburn in the 2004 game; and Texas in the 1995 Sugar Bowl classic.
In addition to the Tigers and Hokies, Virginia (Chick-fil-A), Florida State (Champs Sports), Georgia Tech (Hyundai Sun), NC State (Belk), Wake Forest (Franklin American Mortgage Music City) and North Carolina (Advocare V100 Independence), all accepted bowl invitations.
Since 2005, the ACC has seen 58 of its teams go to post-season bowl games. In that time only the Southeastern Conference (61) has had more bowl participants.
This year’s pairings also extended consecutive bowl streaks for ACC teams who have three of the nation’s five longest current bowl game streaks, led by Florida State which has the nation’s longest current bowl streak. The Seminoles are making their 30th consecutive bowl trip in a streak that began with the 1982 Gator Bowl game. The Seminoles are joined by Virginia Tech, which will enjoy its 19th consecutive bowl trip–the nation’s third longest skein and Georgia Tech, which is making it 15th straight bowl appearance, tied for the nation’s fifth longest streak.
Clemson (10-3; 6-2 ACC), ranked 15th in the final BCS Standings, captured its league-record 14th ACC Football title but its first since 1991, with a 38-10 win over Virginia Tech (11th USA Today; 17th AP) Saturday in the Seventh Annual ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte. Clemson will be making its fourth appearance in the Discover Orange Bowl (1951, 1957, 1982), but its first since the historic 1982 game in which they claimed their only national football title. The Tigers of coach Dabo Swinney will be facing Big East co-champion and 23rd-ranked (BCS) West Virginia (9-3) on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 8 pm. The 2011 Discover Orange Bowl will be played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla, and will be nationally televised by ESPN. Clemson will be facing the Mountaineers for only the second time in their history, having captured a 27-7 win over WVU in the 1989 Gator Bowl. Clemson has an overall 16-17 record in 33 bowl appearances.
Virginia Tech (11-2, 7-1, ACC), the ACC’s Coastal Division champion and ranked 11th in the final BCS Standings, is making its 19th consecutive bowl appearance, all under the direction of coach Frank Beamer who is the active career leader in the NCAA’s FBS in coaching wins with 251. Virginia Tech dropped a 46-29 decision to unbeaten Florida State in the 2000 BCS Championship Game; lost to unbeaten Auburn 16-13 in 2004 contest and downed Texas 28-10 in the 1995 game. Virginia Tech will be facing 13th-ranked Michigan (9-3) of the Big Ten Conference in a nationally televised (ESPN, 8:30 pm) game on Tuesday, Jan. 3, in New Orleans’ Louisiana Superdome. This year’s game will mark the first meeting between Virginia Tech and Michigan in football.
Virginia (8-4, 5-3), will be making its first appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31, but the game will be the Cavs fourth bowl trip to Atlanta. UVa has played in three Peach Bowls, defeating Purdue, 27-24, in the 1984 game; downing Georgia 34-37 in the 1995 contest; and dropping a 35-33 decision to the Bulldogs in 1998. Led by second-year head coach Mike London, the 2011 ACC Coach of the Year, Virginia came within one game of the Coastal Division title and will face Southeastern Conference foe Auburn at the Georgia Dome in a nationally-televised (7:30 pm) contest. London guided the Cavaliers to rebound from a 7-17 record during the 2009 and 2010 seasons to an 8-4 mark this year. UVa is 1-1 against the Tigers having lost at Auburn 28-17 in 1997 and winning at home in 1998, 19-0.
Florida State (8-4, 5-3), coached by Jimbo Fisher and ranked 25th in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, is making an NCAA-best 30th straight bowl appearance, facing Notre Dame (8-4) in the Champs Sports Bowl, in Orlando on Saturday, Dec. 29. The game will be played at the Florida Citrus Bowl, will have a 5:30 p.m. kickoff, and will be nationally-televised by ESPN. This marks the second appearance by the Seminoles in the Champs Sports Bowl, as they defeated Wisconsin 42-13 in the 2008 game. FSU has a 24-14-2 (.625) record in 40 bowl appearances, the 6th-best percentage record by a school with 15 or more bowl appearances. The Seminoles will be facing the Fighting Irish for the seventh time, having won four of the previous six meetings, including a 37-0 triumph at South Bend in 2003.
Georgia Tech (8-4, 5-3), coached by Paul Johnson, will be making its 15th consecutive trip to a bowl game, a streak that ties them with Georgia for the 4th-longest post-season string in the nation. The Yellow Jackets will be playing in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex., on Saturday, Dec. 31. The game will be played in Sun Bowl Stadium, will have a 2 p.m. kickoff, and will be nationally televised by CBS. This is the first appearance by Tech in the Sun Bowl since a 17-9 win over Texas Tech in the 1970 contest. The Yellow Jackets feature the nation’s 3rd-ranked rushing offense, averaging 316.8 yards per game. Tech will be facing Utah (7-5) of the Mountain West Conference for the second time in a bowl game. The Jackets dropped a 38-10 decision to the Utes in the 2005 Emerald Bowl in Seattle. This year’s game will mark Tech’s 40th bowl appearance and the Jackets’ 22-17 (.564) record in bowl games ranks 14th among all schools with 15 or more bowl appearances.
NC State (7-5, 4-4) will be making its third bowl appearance in the last four seasons under head coach Tom O’Brien. The Wolfpack will face Big East foe Louisville (7-5) in this year’s Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The game will have an 8 p.m. kickoff and will be nationally televised by ESPN. This will mark the second trip to Charlotte for State in a bowl game, having defeated South Florida, 14-0, in the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl, the predecessor to this year’s Belk Bowl. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams in football, with Louisville taking each of the three previous games, including a 19-10 decision in their last meeting in 2007. State is making its 26th bowl appearance and its 13-11-1 mark (.540) ranks 15th in winning percentage among all schools who have 15 or more bowl appearances.
Wake Forest (6-6, 5-3) will be making its fifth bowl appearance in 11 years under current head coach Jim Grobe. The Deacons will travel to Nashville, Tenn., to face SEC foe Mississippi State (6-6) in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on Friday, Dec. 30 at 6:40 p.m. The game will be played at LP Field and will be nationally televised by ESPN. The Deacons have compiled a 6-3 (.667) record in their nine previous bowl appearances and are 3-1 in bowl games under Grobe. Wake Forest and Mississippi State will be meeting for the first time in football. Wake is making its first bowl appearance since 2008, but enters having won five of its last six bowl appearances.
North Carolina (7-5, 3-5 ACC) is making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance, this one under interim head coach Everett Withers, as the Tar Heels will face Big 12 foe Missouri (7-5) on Monday, Dec. 26 in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The game will have a 5 pm kickoff and will be nationally televised by ESPN2. This will be UNC’s 29th overall bowl appearance but their first in the Independence Bowl. North Carolina has faced Missouri twice previously, losing on both occasions, but has not played the Tigers since 1976. Missouri defeated Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M in Big 12 competition.