The Belk Bowl announced today that the South Carolina Gamecocks will face the Virginia Cavaliers in the 2018 Belk Bowl. Kickoff is set for noon on Saturday, December 29. The game, celebrating its 17th year, will be televised nationally by ABC. For the 2018 Belk Bowl, South Carolina is designated the away team and Virginia is designated the home team. South Carolina will be making its first appearance in the Belk Bowl, but they have played regular season games in Charlotte three times. They are a perfect 3-0 at Bank of America Stadium, most recently defeating NC State, 35-28, to open the 2017 season. Virginia is making its third appearance in the game and in Charlotte. They have a perfect 2-0 record at Bank of America Stadium. The Cavaliers won the inaugural Belk Bowl in 2002, defeating West Virginia, 48-22, and then beat Pittsburgh, 23-16, in 2003. “We are pleased to welcome South Carolina and Virginia to the 2018 Belk Bowl,” said Will Webb, Belk Bowl Executive Director. “The Gamecocks and Cavaliers have each enjoyed a great season, and they should have an exciting, competitive game on the field. Both teams have tremendous, enthusiastic fans that should make the 2018 Belk Bowl very memorable. We look forward to hosting the teams and their fans in Charlotte!” South Carolina finished the season with a 7-5 overall record (4-4 SEC) and tied for third in the SEC East Division. This is their third-straight bowl appearance. The Gamecocks have won five of their last six bowl games. Virginia finished the season with a 7-5 overall record (4-4 ACC). They finished tied for third in the ACC Coastal Division. “We’re excited for another trip to the Queen City,” said South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp. “Charlotte has one of the largest, if not the largest, University of South Carolina alumni bases outside the Palmetto state. Bank of America Stadium, where the Carolina Panthers play, is a great venue for a game and we’ve had a lot of success there. I know Will Webb and his staff at the Belk Bowl will make this a memorable experience for our squad, but our goal is to win our eighth game of the season. I expect to see a great contingent of Gamecock fans in Charlotte to help us achieve our goal.” “To be selected to play in this year’s Belk Bowl is a tremendous honor for our team and we are excited to return to Charlotte where Virginia won the bowl’s first two games in 2002 and 2003,” said Virginia Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall. “One of the team’s goals this year was to play in back-to-back bowl games for the first time in 14 seasons. I am proud they have accomplished that and took another step in establishing the New Standard for the program. I have mentioned before the renewed energy and enthusiasm our fans generated at Scott Stadium this year. Given the proximity to Charlotte, we look forward to many of them making the trip to Charlotte for the Belk Bowl and bringing that passion with them.” College football’s only bowl game to call the Carolinas home, the Belk Bowl has partnerships in place with Belk, ESPN/ABC, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference. The game is played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Belk has been the title sponsor of the Belk Bowl since 2011, working to help increase the Bowl’s visibility both regionally and nationally. Individual tickets for the 2018 Belk Bowl are available through www.BelkTickets.com and the participating schools. Fans can visit the official website, www.BelkBowl.com, for more information about the game and surrounding events. The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) is a 501(c)(3) created in 2013 to provide leadership for sports-based initiatives that enhance the economy and quality of life in the Charlotte region. CSF provides unique events and business opportunities around professional, collegiate and amateur sporting events, highlighted by the annual Belk Bowl and the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, as well as, the Belk College Kickoff Game. CSF’s regular season football games include the University of Tennessee and West Virginia University (2018), the Universities of North Carolina and South Carolina (2019 & 2023). Wake Forest University and the University of Notre Dame (2020), and East Carolina University and Appalachian State University (2021). These efforts are intended to create a positive economic impact in the region, as well, to enhance the quality of life. The organization’s board of directors is comprised of regional business, industry and civic leaders who have a track record of bringing sports and economic development to the area. Please visit www.CharlotteSports.org for more information. SOUTH CAROLINA BOWL FACTS: • The 2018 Belk Bowl marks Carolina’s 23rd bowl appearance. The Gamecocks are 9-13 in bowl games. They dropped their first eight bowl games, won three-straight, lost four of the next five but now have won five of their last six bowl appearances, including a 26-19 win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2018. • The Gamecocks are making their first appearance in the Belk Bowl. However, Carolina is a perfect 3-0 in games played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The Gamecocks have opened three seasons at BOA Stadium, defeating East Carolina, 56-27 in 2011, posting a 17-13 win over North Carolina to begin the 2015 season, then topping NC State, 35-28, to open the 2017 campaign. • The Gamecocks are bowl-eligible for the 14th time in the last 15 years. They elected not to participate in a bowl game following a 6-5 season in 2004, did not receive a bowl invitation following a 6-6 campaign in 2007, and did not qualify for a bowl game following a 3-9 season in 2015. • Will Muschamp becomes the first coach to take South Carolina to bowl games in each of his first three seasons. Steve Spurrier’s first three Carolina teams were bowl-eligible, but the 2007 squad did not receive a bowl bid following a 6-6 campaign. • With 22 wins, Will Muschamp has won more games in his first three seasons at South Carolina than any coach in school history. • The Gamecocks own a 21-12-1 all-time record against Virginia, including a 2-0 mark at neutral sites, in a series that dates back to 1912. Saying those two games were at “neutral” sites is a bit of a misnomer, as the 1952 game was played in Norfolk, while the 1956 contest was played in Richmond. The last meeting was a 31-7 Gamecock win in Columbia during the 2003 season. • South Carolina is 10-6 in its last 16 games against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference since the start of the 2009 season. Since that time they have faced Clemson (5-5), North Carolina (2-0), NC State (2-0), Miami (Fla.) (1-0), and Florida State (0-1). South Carolina was a member of the ACC from 1953-1970. • The Gamecocks will be looking for their eighth win of the season, something that has been accomplished just 14 times previously in school history, eight of which have come in this century. • The Gamecocks are looking for their 17th win over the last two seasons, something that has been accomplished just five times previously (2000-01, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14).