Officially Invited

The Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl officially welcomed and formally invited Ole Miss to its game Monday, marking the first time the Rebels have played in the postseason classic since 1971.

However the Rebels did play in Atlanta earlier this season, opening the 2014 campaign against Boise State and winning 35-13 in the Chik-Fil-A Kickoff Classic.

“We liked having you so much in August we're inviting you back,” said Gary Stokan, president of the Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl. "We're ecstatic to have No. 6 (TCU) against No. 9 (Ole Miss). I think Ole Miss is on to some really special things the next few years beginning with this bowl."

Ole Miss defeated Georgia Tech 41-18 in the Peach Bowl 43 years ago. This year, the Peach Bowl has elevated its status among the Big Six bowls, who are those bowl games that are in the national semifinal rotation. The Peach Bowl game will be a national semifinal game in two years.

"I believe the winner of this year’s Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl could end up in the top 5 in the country," Stokan said, whose game is played this year on Dec. 31 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. "We pride ourselves on being one of the most competitive bowl games in the country each year."

The Peach Bowl has also been one of the nation’s best attended postseason games for a long time.

“We've sold out 17 straight years,” Stokan said. “We look forward to an 18th straight sellout again, thanks to what Ole Miss has done with ticket sales. We're currently second only to the Rose Bowl in terms of that (consecutive sellout longevity)."

"We've sold 17,000 tickets,” Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork said. “But we'll have more than that in attendance. Rebel Nation will be excited to be there and will show up."

Ole Miss finished the season 9-3, while TCU is 11-1. Both, as Stokan pointed out, spent time among the nation’s top three teams in the College Football Playoff poll this fall.

"I echo Ross' comments on the excitement of our people,” said Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who is taking his third Ole Miss team in as many years to a postseason bowl game. “I have gotten to know these (Peach Bowl) people through the years and they operate with pure class. We're all in with the charitable work that the Peach Bowl does.

“We're excited to be in the first of the six New Year's bowl games,” Freeze continued. “I'm thrilled for our kids, in particular our seniors. On behalf of our football team and our wonderful fans, we definitely accept this invitation to the Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl."

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