After a day full of some crazy (and shady) twists and turns, we now know that Louisville is headed to the Belk Bowl, where they will face the 9-3 Georgia Bulldogs. The game, which will be televised by ESPN, will kickoff on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m. EST from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Louisville also appeared in the 2011 Belk Bowl, where they lost to North Carolina State, 31-24.
As much as I hate the way Louisville got kicked around during the selection process today (somehow Mississippi State moving ahead of Michigan State despite neither team playing this weekend sent the Cards down four rungs on the bowl food chain), everything worked out pretty well.
Opponent is the most crucial factor for teams not in the four-team playoff or one of the "New Year's 6" bowls, and Louisville probably couldn't do much better than a 9-3 Georgia team which has spent a solid amount of time ranked in the top 10 this season. The Bulldogs also have to be happy to be facing a ranked team, and then there's the whole angle of the former Georgia players and defensive coordinator who will be on the Cardinal sideline on Dec. 30.
Basically, while the "Belk Bowl" doesn't carry as much name prestige as some of the other options both teams were looking at, this is a pretty solid matchup for both sides. There will be no talk of "disinterest" from either team in the days and weeks leading up to the game, as both have to feel like they have a solid amount to gain by ending their season with a victory.
Another plus here is the later kickoff (6:30 as opposed to the 3 p.m. start in Nashville), although there will be a conflict with Louisville's home basketball game against Long Beach State that night, which is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. I'm sure we'll all find a way to manage.
Let the beat Georgia talk commence.