Reports are starting to leak that Arkansas will play Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium (home of the Carolina Panthers). The game will take place on December 29th and kickoff will be 4:30pm CST. Tim McGraw will be performing at their FanFest before the game, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Virginia Tech finished 9-4, ranked 22nd in the final committee ranking and won the ACC Coastal Division. They played Clemson tight in the ACC Championship Game, losing 42-35. It’s been a successful season for the Hokies and first-year coach Justin Fuente. Their only losses during the regular season were in Week 2 to Tennessee and on the road to Syracuse and then to Georgia Tech.
Tech does possess the type of dual-threat quarterback that’s driven Arkansas insane in recent years. Jerod Evans threw for over 3000 yards and completed over 60% of his passes while also leading the Hokies in rushing with almost 900 yards. That’s plenty to hold Arkansas’ attention for the rest of the month. They have a pretty stingy pass defense, although they are susceptible to big plays.
It’ll be interesting to see how many Hog fans make the trip, considering the ugly way Arkansas finished the season. Since Virginia Tech is coming off a division championship with a 1st year coach, and that Charlotte is much closer to their fanbase than Arkansas’, have to think there will be more Hokies there, but we’ll see.
The Hogs of course will be attempting to win their third consecutive bowl game (and fourth in four attempts, dating back to the 2012 Cotton Bowl). Arkansas had never won a bowl in consecutive seasons until last year, so it will be another chance for Bielema to give Hog fans something we’ve never had before.
Unfortunately, the game will be going on at the same time as Arkansas hosts Florida to open the SEC basketball season. That’s really unfortunate. The basketball team needs to win that game and could use a great crowd.