Present Iteration: Belk Bowl
Past Iterations: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Continental Tire Bowl
Toasting Town: Charlotte, North Carolina
Combatants: Louisville (7-5) vs. North Carolina State (7-5)
Holiday Equivalent: Vicious Hangover
Similar teams. Similar color schemes. Similar capacity to induce boredom. This could be terrible, 2008 Sun Bowl terrible.
Offense: Don’t expect much. Louisville is 90th in yards per play. North Carolina State is 107th. Both teams have aggressive defensive fronts and rank in the Top 20 in sacks. Neither has an offensive line stout enough to stop them. Both will try to establish the run. Both are in the bottom 20 in the country, averaging less than 3.4 yards per carry.
Bowl Record: Tom O’Brien is 7-2 in bowl games. The only other active head coach with seven wins, and a better winning percentage is Urban Meyer.
Louisville Cardinals [SRS 59]
Best Wins: WVU (32), South Florida (51), Rutgers (52)
Losses: at Cincinnati (35), at UNC (44), Pitt (50) FIU (79), Marshall (90)
Famous Alum: Sam Gilliam
Louisville totally should have beaten FIU and Marshall at home to finish 9-3, but poop happens when you start 10 freshmen. The Cardinals won five of their final seven games in conference. They were competitive in every game. Only Cincinnati (25-16) beat them by more than a touchdown.
North Carolina State Wolfpack [SRS 66]
Best Wins: Clemson (27), UNC (44), Virginia (68)
Losses: FSU (24), Cincinnati (35), Georgia Tech (46), Wake Forest (72), Boston College (80)
Famous Alum: John Tesh
North Carolina State won five of its last seven, salvaging the season after a dismal, Russell Wilson-less start. They closed on a particular high-note, beating Clemson and then coming from 27 down to beat Maryland. Opposite take on that? They fell down by 27 to Maryland.
For Recreational Purposes: North Carolina State (-2)
[Photo via Getty]