UConn to play ACC team in Meineke Bowl

Updated: November 27, 2007, 5:30 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Connecticut accepted a bid Tuesday to play in the Meineke Bowl on Dec. 29 against an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

The Huskies were selected over Cincinnati as the Big East's representative for the game, which will be played at Bank of America Stadium.

The ACC team is not expected to be named until after Saturday's conference championship game. Wake Forest and Maryland are the leading contenders.

The Huskies are coming off their best season since moving up to the highest level of college football six years ago. UConn (9-3, 5-2 Big East) was in the hunt to win the conference title and capture the league's Bowl Championship Series berth until Saturday's 66-21 loss at West Virginia in its regular-season finale.

"I'm glad that they looked at our total body of work and not just one half of one game," UConn coach Randy Edsall said.

It will be Connecticut's second bowl appearance. The Huskies beat Toledo 39-10 in the 2004 Motor City Bowl.

"We were almost picked to play in Charlotte in 2004 and 2005 and I am excited that we will have this opportunity in 2007," Edsall said. "This game will be an ideal way to cap off an exciting season of firsts here at UConn."

UConn beat out Cincinnati for the berth despite the Bearcats' 27-3 win on Nov. 10, one of two losses in its final three games for Connecticut.

"We were able to secure the second-place team in the Big East Conference, which is a great achievement for UConn and for the bowl," said Will Webb, the bowl's executive director. "The Huskies' fans also have a proven history of supporting their athletic teams.''

The Meineke Bowl, played at the Carolina Panthers' 73,000-seat stadium, is in its sixth year. It has included a Big East team every year until last season, when it cut a one-year deal to select Navy.

The ACC's Boston College beat the Midshipmen 25-24 on Steve Aponavicius' 37-yard field goal on the final play.

In previous years, the bowl, run by Raycom Sports, has tried to secure a team with a local following, making Wake Forest an attractive option to be UConn's opponent. North Carolina and North Carolina State have played in the game in the past.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press