MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia accepted an invitation Sunday to play in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 against Maryland (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP).
West Virginia (8-4) finished the regular season with
seven consecutive victories. The Mountaineers (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) started the season 1-4, including a 34-7 loss at Maryland.
The Terrapins finished 9-3 after losing their first two games.
West Virginia finished tied with Miami for the Big East title,
but the Hurricanes got the conference's automatic BCS bid based on
beating the Mountaineers and having a higher BCS ranking.
West Virginia is making its fourth trip to the Gator Bowl. The
Mountaineers lost on previous tries to Florida State after the 1982
season, Clemson after the 1989 season and North Carolina after the
Maryland, runner-up to Florida State in the ACC, also is making
its fourth Gator Bowl trip. The Terrapins last appeared in 1975,
when they beat Florida 13-0.
The Gator Bowl will have a $1.825 million payout to each team.