College Football: Here’s where North Carolina’s FBS teams are playing their bowl games
It’s December, which means it’s bowl season for Division I college football.
This season, five Football Bowl Subdivision programs in North Carolina won enough to qualify for a postseason bowl game. For the first time ever, each of the state’s four Atlantic Coast Conference teams — Duke, UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest — all qualified for a bowl. East Carolina is also going bowling.
Additionally, NC Central of the FCS will play in the Celebration Bowl – the national championship for HBCUs – on Dec. 17 in Atlanta.
Here’s what you need to know about each bowl game featuring an FBS team from the Tar Heel State.
- Teams: UNC (9-4) vs. Oregon (9-3)
- When: Dec. 28, 8 p.m.
- Where: San Diego, California
- Watch: Fox
North Carolina and Oregon have never played each other before in football, despite being two of the premier Nike-branded programs in the country. Nike co-founder Phil Knight is an Oregon graduate, while Michael Jordan — arguably the most important athlete Nike has ever endorsed — is of course an alum of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Both teams are riding losing streaks, as UNC has fallen in four straight games while Oregon has lost two of its last three.
This will be the first football game ever played at Petco Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.
Duke’s Mayo Bowl
- Teams: N.C. State (8-4) vs. Maryland (7-5)
- When: Dec. 30, Noon
- Where: Charlotte, North Carolina
- Watch: ESPN
This game pits two former ACC rivals against each other. The Terrapins left the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014, ending a series with the Wolfpack that was played every year between 1956 and 2013. Maryland and N.C. State haven’t played each other since, and left the record between them dead even with 33 wins for the Terps, 33 wins for the Pack and four ties. Famously, former N.C. State quarterback Philip Rivers – who played in the NFL for 17 years – never beat Maryland in his four seasons for the Wolfpack.
This will be the third time N.C. State has played a bowl game in North Carolina.
- Teams: Duke (8-4) vs. UCF (9-4)
- When: Dec. 28, 2 p.m.
- Where: Annapolis, Maryland
- Watch: ESPN
The Military Bowl — played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium — has been canceled each of the past two seasons due to COVID-19. This is the first-ever meeting between Duke and UCF.
Duke coach Mike Elko twice coached in this game as an assistant. He’s the first rookie head coach for the Blue Devils to win at least eight games in his first season since Fred Goldsmith in 1994. Duke is playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2018.
Should the Blue Devils beat UCF, they’ll have won nine games for just the sixth time in program history.
- Teams: East Carolina (7-5) vs. Coastal Carolina (9-3)
- When: Dec. 27, 6:45 p.m.
- Where: Birmingham, Alabama
- Watch: ESPN
Despite being separated by less than 200 miles along the coasts of North and South Carolina, ECU and Coastal have never played each other in football.
Coastal recently made a change at the top after former head coach Jamey Chadwell left for Liberty University this past weekend. Coastal’s search was quick and they replaced him with N.C. State offensive coordinator Tim Beck.
This will be the first postseason appearance for ECU since they last played in the Birmingham Bowl in 2014. The Pirates were supposed to play in the Military Bowl last year before it was canceled.
- Teams: Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Missouri (6-6)
- When: Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m.
- Where: Tampa, Florida
- Watch: ESPN
Wake Forest was ranked as high as No. 10 in the AP Poll earlier this season, but fell out of the national picture by losing four of its final five games. Still, the Demon Deacons won enough to make a bowl game for the seventh straight year.
This will be the final game for Wake quarterback Sam Hartman, who is tied atop the ACC record book for the most career touchdown passes with 107.
It's the first-ever meeting between Wake and Missouri. The Tigers are coached by Eli Drinkwitz, who was previously an offensive coordinator at N.C. State and the head coach at App State.