PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Louisville will face Florida in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl, marking the Cardinals’ first appearance in a Bowl Championship Series game since the 2006-07 season and highlighting five bowl appearances by BIG EAST teams to cap the 2012 campaign.
Louisville, which claimed the BIG EAST’s automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series, joins Rutgers, Cincinnati and Syracuse and Pittsburgh as the conference’s postseason representatives. The BIG EAST is a combined 23-10 in bowl games in the past six seasons and has a 43-27 postseason record in the BCS era (1998 to present). The .614 postseason winning percentage since 1998 is the best of any FBS conference.
Louisville (10-2) won a share of its third BIG EAST title Thursday as the Cardinals finished in a four-way tie for first in the final standings. The Cardinals tied Cincinnati, Rutgers and Syracuse for the top spot, but were awarded the BIG EAST’s automatic BCS bid based on the league’s tiebreaking procedure. Louisville and Rutgers were both 2-1 against the other tied teams, allowing Louisville’s higher finish than Rutgers in the final BCS standings to give the BIG EAST’s automatic bid to the Cardinals.
Louisville will face Florida (11-1), an automatic qualifier for the BCS as the No. 3 team in the final standings, Jan. 2, at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome on ESPN. It will be the 16th bowl appearance for the Cardinals, their first trip to the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and their second trip to a BCS bowl (the Cardinals beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl in the 2006-07 season). It will be the first postseason meeting between Louisville and Florida.
Louisville coach Charlie Strong was on the coaching staff of two BCS National Championship teams with the Gators (2007, 2009).
Rutgers (9-3) returns to the postseason for the second straight year and the seventh time in the last eight seasons as the Scarlet Knights were selected for the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Rutgers will face Virginia Tech (6-6) Dec. 28 at the Florida Citrus Bowl after the Scarlet Knights captured a share of the BIG EAST title for the first time in program history. Rutgers has gone 5-2 in its previous seven bowl games and will play in the Russell Athletic Bowl for the first time in search of its sixth consecutive postseason win.
The Belk Bowl selected Cincinnati (9-3) as this year’s BIG EAST representative, sending the Bearcats to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., for the first time. Cincinnati went 5-2 in BIG EAST play, earning a share of the BIG EAST title for the fourth time in five years. The Bearcats will face Duke (6-6), which is bowl-eligible for the first time since 1994, Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN. It will be the first meeting between the schools.
Syracuse (7-5) returns to the postseason after a one-year absence as the Orange were selected to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Syracuse, which earned a share of its first BIG EAST title since 2004, will face West Virginia (7-5) Dec. 29 at 3:15 p.m. on ESPN. The Orange played in the first New Era Pinstripe Bowl, defeating Kansas State 36-34 in 2010, and bring a 13-9-1 postseason record into their 24th bowl appearance.
Pittsburgh (6-6) was chosen for the BBVA Compass Bowl at Legions Field in Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 5, when the Panthers will face Mississippi (6-6). Pittsburgh gained bowl eligibility in its last game of the regular season, closing the year with back-to-back wins. The Panthers, who will make their third consecutive appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl, defeated Kentucky 27-10 in the 2010-11 season and fell to SMU 28-6 in last year’s matchup. Pittsburgh has reached the postseason in five straight seasons and is 12-16 all-time in bowl games.
2012-13 BIG EAST BOWL SCHEDULE
Belk Bowl • Dec. 27
Cincinnati vs. Duke....................... 6:30 p.m.
Series: First meeting
Russell Athletic Bowl • Dec. 28
Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech............. 5:30 p.m.
Series: Virginia Tech leads, 11-3
Last Meeting: Oct. 4, 2003 — Virginia Tech, 48-28
New Era Pinstripe Bowl • Dec. 29
Syracuse vs. West Virginia.......... 3:15 p.m.
Series: Syracuse leads, 32-27
Last Meeting: Oct. 21, 2011 – Syracuse, 49-23
Allstate Sugar Bowl • Jan. 2
Louisville vs. Florida..................... 8:30 p.m.
Series: Florida leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: Oct. 24, 1992 — Florida, 31-17
BBVA Compass Bowl • Jan. 5
Pittsburgh vs. Mississippi.................. 1 p.m.
Series: First meeting