Mississippi State reportedly is heading north-east for their final football of 2015, as the Bulldogs have been assigned to play in the Belk Bowl. There State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) will meet North Carolina State (7-5, 3-5 ACC) on December 30 in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. Game time is 3:30 et for ESPN broadcast.
Official confirmation of this and all other SEC bowl matchups not part of the College Football Playoff was due out at 4:30ct on the SEC Network.
Mississippi State will hold a Monday media conference with a representative of the Belk Bowl. A practice schedule will be announced shortly for both on-campus at on-site days. Mullen and cornerback Taveze Calhoun are to be in New York City on Monday evening for presentation of the Campbell Trophy. Calhoun, a team co-captain, is one of the 12 finalists. On Tuesday Mullen and MSU officials will be in Charlotte for a bowl event.
This will be Mississippi State’s sixth-consecutive winter with a bowl game, which doubles the previous longest such run of three years in 1998-2000. It is also the 19th overall bowl game for Bulldog football, meaning Mullen’s program has accounted for almost one-third of the school’s post-season trips.
What is new is the destination as Mississippi State will be making a first appearance in the Charlotte-based bowl which began in 2002.
Payout for the Belk Bowl is $1.7 million. MSU officials expect a ticket allotment of 8,000, with advance sales beginning last week for all the ‘pool of six’ bowls that the Bulldogs were candidates for.
Under Mullen, the Bulldogs have played in five bowls already. Three times they have gone south to Florida bowls; the 2010 and ’12 teams both ended their seasons in the Taxslayer/Gator Bowl with a win over Michigan and loss to Northwestern respectively. And last year of course Mississippi State walked off the Orange Bowl field practically at the stroke of midnight after losing to Georgia Tech.
In-between State has had a better batting average going north. The 2011 Dogs beat Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl to secure another winning record. And in 2013 State again qualified for bowl eligibility on the last day of the regular season, and pushed over break-even by routing Rice in the Liberty Bowl.
So Mullen’s teams are 3-2 in post-season play. The common thread so far has been after ending the regular season with an Egg Bowl wins, those Bulldogs have also brought back a bowl victory trophy. Otherwise…not. And this team is coming off a humbling defeat on the home field in the annual rivalry.
These state universities of Mississippi and North Carolina have met in post-season before, just not for a few years. N.C. State won the 1995 (1994 season) Peach Bowl over Jackie Sherrill’s Bulldogs 28-24. The more famed meeting though was way back in December 1963 at the original Liberty Bowl. In legendarily-cold conditions in Philadelphia, the Bulldogs won 16-12.
There were three previous regular-season games, all pre-WWII. North Carolina State won in both 1930 (home) and ’31 (Starkville), then the Bulldogs won in 1940 in Raleigh.
This event debuted as the Continental Tire Bowl and then Meineke Car Care Bowl. Belk took over as sponsor in 2011. Initially the bowl was an ACC/Big East matchup, then with the American Athletic Conference replacing the defunct Big East. 2014 began the current SEC/ACC arrangement and Georgia defeated Louisville.
Mississippi State is 3-3 against ACC teams in bowl competition and 10-8 overall. North Carolina State is 15-12-1 for their bowl appearances and 2-3 against SEC squads.