Florida Citrus Sports’ Team Selection Committee has selected the NC State Wolfpack and West Virginia Mountaineers to play in this year’s Champs Sports Bowl, the first matchup in the current agreement matching top teams from the ACC and Big East. Set to take place December 28th from Orlando’s Citrus Bowl Stadium, the game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.
The No. 22/21 Mountaineers clinched at least a share of its fifth conference title since 2003 and just missed a BCS appearance when Connecticut made a last-second field goal last night. WVU (9-3, 5-2 Big East) hits the postseason riding a four-game win streak and boasting one of the nation’s top defenses. The Mountaineers rank in the top 10 nationally in five team categories, most notably scoring defense (2nd, 12.8 ppg) and total defense (3rd, 251.3). Standout pass-rushers Julian Miller (8.0) and transfer Bruce Irvin (12.0) will also make it difficult on any opposing offense as they alone have accounted for 20 sacks this year.
NC State heads to The City Beautiful for the first time since a Philip Rivers-led Wolfpack defeated Kansas in the 2003 Mazda Tangerine Bowl. The Wolfpack (8-4, 5-3 ACC) saw a resurgence in 2010 under head coach Tom O’Brien, posting their most wins since 2003 and just one shy of the second-best record in school history. NCSU brings one of the nation’s top passing offense (19th, 281.7 ypg) and stingiest run defenses (12th, 113.0) to Orlando, as well as a fan base which set a school record for attendance in 2010. Junior QB Russell Wilson will enter the game 11th nationally and tops in the ACC with an average of 306.8 yards of offense per game.
“Both NC State and West Virginia have enjoyed very successful seasons and we are already seeing a lot of excitement for this game in Orlando,” said Selection Committee Chairman Chuck Beverly. “It’s going to be fun watching one of the nation’s best offenses face one of the best defenses.”
The Mountaineers and Wolfpack have squared off nine times in their history, but this will be the first meeting in 22 years. The two schools last met in 1979 with WVU holding a slight edge in the all-time series at 5-4. The two schools have met twice in the postseason (1972 and 1975 Peach Bowls), splitting the pair of meetings.
Game ticket prices range from $45-200. For more information about the Champs Sports Bowl and Orlando Bowl Week, check out the Fan Central