A pair of Bowl games are on schedule tonight as the Champs Sports Bowl and Insight Bowl take center stage. The Champs Sports Bowl will feature (22) West Virginia and North Carolina State from Orlando.
The Mountaineers earned a share of the Big East title this season, but lost out on the tie-breaker with UConn. Instead of representing the league in a BCS Bowl game, WVU finds itself in the Champs Sports Bowl for the first time.
"We are thrilled and excited to be a participant and we are very much looking forward to this opportunity," said West Virginia coach Bill Stewart.
WVU, which won its last four games of the regular season, is making its school-record ninth straight bowl appearance. The Mountaineers own a 13-16 all-time mark in bowl games and had won four consecutive before losing to Florida State in the Gator Bowl last season.
As for NC State, it suffered a 38-31 loss to Maryland in its regular-season finale that cost the team the Atlantic Division title and a spot in the ACC Championship game. It was certainly a disappointing and costly defeat, but the Wolfpack are still headed to a bowl game for the second time in four years under head coach Tom O'Brien.
"Our team could not be more excited about the opportunity to play in the Champs Sports Bowl," O'Brien said. "A trip to Orlando is a great reward for their hard work this season and we are happy to have a quality opponent like West Virginia. We hope that our fans will paint the town red."
This is the 25th bowl appearance for NC State, which owns a 12-11-1 mark in such games. The program's last postseason appearance came in 2008, a 29-23 loss to Rutgers.
The Mountaineers and Wolfpack have met nine times previously on the gridiron, including twice in the postseason, and WVU holds a 5-4 edge in the series. The programs met twice in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, with NC State posting a 49-13 win in 1972 and WVU capturing a 13-10 decision in 1975.
Later tonight, the Iowa Hawkeyes will try to finish off a tough end to their 2010 season with a win over the (14)Missouri Tigers in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ.
Iowa was ranked in the Top 10 this year, but now finds itself unranked heading into the bowl season. The Hawkeyes ended the regular season with three consecutive losses, all by four points or less, costing the program a chance at the Big Ten title.
Still, Iowa did enough to earn a place in a bowl game for a third straight season and 25th time overall. The Hawkeyes own a 13-10-1 all-time record in the postseason, including a 24-14 win over Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl last season.
As far as the all-time series goes, Missouri holds a 7-5 edge over Iowa, but the teams haven't met on the gridiron since 1910.