ACC Bowl Bids: Duke to face A&M; Miami draws L’ville

ATLANTA — Johnny Manziel might play his final

college game in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

No. 20 Texas

A&M, led by the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, will face No. 22

Duke in the first-ever meeting between the schools on New Year’s Eve at

the Georgia Dome, officials announced Sunday

night.

Manziel is a third-year sophomore, making him

eligible to enter the 2014 NFL draft. He hasn’t revealed his plans for

next season after guiding Texas A&M to a disappointing 8-4

record, with all four losses coming against fellow Southeastern

Conference teams ranked among the top 14 in The Associated Press

poll.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Manziel has yet

to make a decision on turning pro.

“If he does, he

does,” the coach said. “Right now, we’re looking through that and

evaluating his future. Then we’ll go from

there.”

Duke (10-3) was a surprising division winner

in the Atlantic Coast Conference, posting the most wins ever at a school

known more for basketball. The Blue Devils are eager to make up for

their performance in the league championship game Saturday night, when

they were routed by top-ranked Florida State

45-7.

“The invitation to the Chick-fil-A Bowl is the

perfect medicine for us,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “To play a team

with the reputation and history and tradition they have at Texas

A&M, to play the caliber of team they have, it’s going to revive

our guys quickly. It didn’t go like we wanted last night, but the

nation will be watching this game, so we want to put our best foot

forward.”

Manziel will clearly be the star attraction

in Atlanta. While Johnny Football is not expected to repeat as the

Heisman winner after becoming the first freshman to win college

football’s top individual award, he put up another stellar season with

3,732 yards passing and 33 touchdowns, as well as leading the Aggies in

rushing with 686 yards and eight TDs.

No. 18 Louisville, Miami in Russell Athletic

Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla.

— The Russell Athletic Bowl might have sort of a Miami

celebration feel to it.

After two years of

self-imposed bowl exile during an NCAA investigation, Miami will play in

its first game since 2010 when it meets No. 18 Louisville in the Dec.

28 matchup at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl.

The game

is also a Miami reunion for Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. A

native of the South Florida city, he will be lined up against the school

he grew up watching and initially committed to coming out of high

school.

But most importantly, it will be a chance for

Bridgewater and Louisville (11-1) to put a happy stamp on a season that

fell short of the school’s second straight BCS appearance. The

Cardinals, coming off a Sugar Bowl win, lost that chance after blowing a

21-point lead in their lone loss of the year to BCS-bound UCF back in

October.

The setback also dealt a big blow to

Bridgewater’s Heisman Trophy campaign. But with about 25 players on

Louisville’s roster with Florida ties, Cardinals coach Charlie Strong

said it’s nice to give them a homecoming.

“We’re

always trying to raise expectations and always trying to lift the

profile of Louisville,” Strong said. “With us ending the season against

this opponent, it will give a lot of viewers that are watching the

opportunity to see what type of team we have.”

The

Hurricanes (9-3) won their first seven games of the season and rose as

high as No. 7 in The Associated Press rankings before losing three in a

row to Florida State, Virginia Tech and

Duke.

Boston College

faces Arizona in AdvoCare V100

Bowl

SHREVEPORT, La. — Two of

the nation’s top running backs will meet Dec. 31 when Arizona faces

Boston College in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl.

Boston

College’s Andre Williams leads all Football Bowl Subdivision players

this season with 2,102 yards rushing this season. Arizona’s Ka’Deem

Carey, the Pac-12 offensive player of the year, has rushed for 1,716

yards and ranks second nationally with 156 yards rushing per

game.

Williams, Carey and Washington’s Bishop Sankey

are the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the

nation’s top running back.

“Maybe the two best backs

in the country are squaring off in the same bowl game,” Arizona coach

Rich Rodriguez said. “It’s very compelling, and I think it will make for

great theater.”

The AdvoCare V100 Bowl — formerly

known as the Independence Bowl — typically matches an Atlantic Coast

Conference team against a Southeastern Conference school, but the SEC

didn’t have enough bowl-eligible teams to send someone to Shreveport

this season. The AdvoCare 100 Bowl instead invited Arizona (7-5) from

the Pac-12.

Boston College has been one of the ACC’s

biggest surprises. The Eagles went from 2-10 in 2012 to 7-5 this season

in the first year of Steve Addazio’s coaching

tenure.

“We’re thrilled,” Addazio said in a

university release. “We’re excited. The players are excited and they are

all fired up. It’s an exciting time for Boston

College.”

This marks only the fourth time in the

38-year history of this bowl that it has included a Pac-12 team.

Washington beat Tulane 24-12 in 1987. Oregon beat Tulsa 27-24 in 1989

and lost 39-35 to Wake Forest in 1992.

Arizona’s

coaching staff does have some Louisiana roots. Rodriguez was Tulane’s

offensive coordinator for two years, including the Green Wave’s

undefeated season in 1998. Arizona co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee

is a New Orleans native.

“I’m sure we’ll see some

friends and folks there and maybe have some Cajun food at the same

time,” Rodriguez said. “More than anything, we’re excited to put our

program out there and try to win a football

game.”

This represents the first time Arizona and

Boston College have faced each other.

Virginia Tech-UCLA is

set for Sun Bowl on Dec. 31

EL PASO,

Texas — Virginia Tech and UCLA have accepted bids to meet for

the first time in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.

Virginia

Tech (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) played its first postseason

game in the 1947 Sun Bowl, losing to Cincinnati. This will be the

Hokies’ 21st consecutive bowl appearance under coach Frank

Beamer.

No. 17 UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) will be making

its fourth appearance in the Sun Bowl. The Bruins came from behind to

beat Northwestern 50-38 in their last appearance in El Paso, in

2005.

The Hokies are led by Thomas Logan, who has

completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,861 yards and 16

touchdowns.

UCLA’s Myles Jack is the Pac-12’s

freshman of the year on both offense and defense after starring at

linebacker and as a running back.

Music City Bowl pits Mississippi vs. Georgia

Tech

NASHVILLE,

Tenn. — The Mississippi Rebels will finish the season in the

same place where they started back in August.

The

Rebels will play Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in a

pairing announced Sunday night. Ole Miss opened the season beating

Vanderbilt a couple miles from LP Field, home of the bowl game. Now the

Rebels are back in this bowl for the second time.

“We

have one of the great bowl traditions in all of college football, and

I’m excited that we have earned a bowl berth in each of our first two

seasons,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “I appreciate the

unbelievable support Rebel Nation has provided our team, and I look

forward to seeing a sea of Red and Blue in

Nashville.”

Ole Miss (7-5) finished on a two-game

skid that dropped the Rebels out of the Top 25 rankings. The Rebels

played in the BBVA Compass Bowl last season.

This

will be the 35th bowl appearance all-time by Ole Miss. The Rebels are

22-12, including last season when Ole Miss beat Pittsburgh 38-17 at the

BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., to cap Freeze’s first

season.

The last time Ole Miss played in the Music

City Bowl, David Cutcliffe was the coach and Eli Manning was the Rebels’

quarterback. That’s the only bowl the Rebels have lost over the past 10

bowl trips going back to the 1992 Liberty Bowl.

Ole

Miss lost 49-38 to West Virginia in their first Music City Bowl. These

Rebels have plenty of Tennessee connections starting at quarterback in

Bo Wallace, a native of Giles County, and a running back in I’Tavius

Mathers from nearby Murfreesboro.

Cincinnati will face North Carolina in Belk

Bowl

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The

Cincinnati Bearcats will look to defend their Belk Bowl title Dec. 28

against North Carolina.

The Bearcats will be making

their second straight appearance in the game after defeating Duke 48-34

last year in Charlotte, Belk Bowl officials announced Sunday

night.

“We are very excited to have North Carolina

playing in the 2013 Belk Bowl,” said Belk Bowl executive director Will

Webb said in a release. “The Tar Heels finished the season very strong,

as did Cincinnati, and it should provide a great matchup on the

field.”

Cincinnati finished 9-3 overall and in second

place in the American Athletic Conference at 6-2. They finished strong

by winning six of their final seven games.

Bearcats

head coach Tommy Tuberville said in a release “the opportunity to play

another game is huge for our team, our fans and for recruiting. It’s

exciting and a tribute to our great fans that the Belk Bowl has selected

Cincinnati two years in a row.”

The Bearcats

defeated Duke last year in the Belk Bowl behind the play of quarterback

Brendon Kay, who named the game’s MVP.

The Tar Heels

(6-6) bounced back from a 1-5 start this season to win five of their

last six games to become bowl eligible. However, their regular season

ended with a disappointing 27-25 loss to rival Duke at home.

Bowling Green, Pitt to

play in Pizza Bowl

After one

of the biggest wins in school history in Detroit, Bowling Green is

headed back to Ford Field.

The MAC champion Falcons

will face Pittsburgh of the ACC in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec.

26.

The Falcons (10-3) beat previously undefeated

Northern Illinois 47-27 in the MAC title game at Ford Field on Friday

night, their fifth straight win.

It’s the third bowl

bid in five seasons for Bowling Green and the 11th in school history.

But it’s also the program’s first trip to the Pizza Bowl in 10

years.

“We are excited to play in a great environment

like Ford Field again, so close to our campus, with our fans and

students being able to make the trip,” Falcons coach Dave Clawson

said.

Pitt will be making its sixth straight trip to a

bowl game and will be the first ACC team to make the trip to

Detroit.

The Panthers, who went 3-5 in their first

season in their new league, are 2-1 against Bowling Green since

1999.

“Bowling Green was impressive not only in their

MAC Championship win, but all season long and we have a competitive

game of football ahead,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst

said.

The Falcons rank fifth in the nation in scoring

defense at just 14.8 points a game, although they gave up 42 points in a

loss at Indiana.

Pitt has been one of the worst

teams in the country at running the ball, but Tom Savage has thrown for

2,834 yards and 21 touchdowns this season.

Syracuse, Minnesota to meet in Texas

Bowl

Minnesota improved by two

wins in 2013, its best regular season in a

decade.

The Gophers reward? A return to the same bowl

they lost in a year ago.

Minnesota will play in the

Texas Bowl for the second straight time when it faces Syracuse on Dec.

27.

The Gophers (8-4) have their most wins since 2003

but wound up in Houston yet again. Minnesota blew a 10-point lead in

the final 1:10 and lost to Texas Tech 34-31 in last year’s Texas

Bowl.

Still, Minnesota is excited to be playing in

December after many believed it would struggle to even reach bowl

eligibility.

“We enjoyed our experience last year and

wish we could have come away with a victory,” Minnesota head coach

Jerry Kill said. “I know our players, especially the 12 from Texas,

welcome the opportunity to represent the University of Minnesota in a

state that has great football tradition

Syracuse

(6-6) finished 4-4 in its first season in the ACC and rallied past

Boston College in the regular-season finale to earn bowl

eligibility.

This will be the first postseason game

in Texas for the Orange since they beat the Longhorns in the 1960 Cotton

Bowl in Dallas.

“I couldn’t be happier for our

senior class to have the opportunity to go to Texas and play a Big Ten

school. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about this season is

our seniors. They are tough kids who never give in,” Syracuse coach

Scott Shafer said.

Minnesota is 3-1 against Syracuse,

including a 17-10 win in 2012. But the Orange have won their last two

postseason games, both at Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Maryland plays

Marshall in Military

Bowl

ANNAPOLIS, Md.

— Maryland won’t have to cross the state line for its first

bowl appearance since 2010.

The Terrapins (7-5) will

face Marshall (9-4) in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. The game will be

held at the home stadium of the Naval Academy, which is around 28 miles

from the Maryland campus.

“We get a chance to play in

our state capital,” Terps coach Randy Edsall said Sunday night. “We

hope we can get all our fans and people from this area to come out and

support us and be part of the great game-day atmosphere that’s going to

take place in Annapolis.”

Maryland finished 7-5 this

season to earn its first bowl bid under Edsall, now in his third year

with the Terrapins. The last time Maryland played in the postseason, it

beat East Carolina when the Military Bowl was held in the nation’s

capital and Ralph Friedgen was head coach.

This will

be the sixth Military Bowl, the first in

Annapolis.

“Being close to home, it allows us to play

in front of our recruiting base,” Edsall said. “Our players’ parents

and families will be able to come out in full force to watch

us.”

Marshall received its invitation on Saturday.

The Thundering Herd went 9-4 and won the Conference USA East Division

title before falling to Rice in the league championship

game.

Marshall and Maryland have never played each

other in football.

“Maryland has built plenty of

momentum and finished this season strong, while Marshall features a

high-powered offense,” Military Bowl President & Executive

Director Steve Beck said. “We’re excited about this game being one of

our best ever.”

The Thundering Herd is led by

quarterback Rakeem Cato, who ranks second in Conference USA in passing

(275.3 yards per game) and has thrown 36 touchdown

passes.

“I have great respect for the ACC and great

respect for Maryland,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “Randy has done

a tremendous job there. … I think our football team as a whole is

excited to be able to play a team the caliber of Maryland.”