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Teams: West Virginia vs. Miami
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Russell Athletic Bowl Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Russell Athletic Bowl on TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Russell Athletic Bowl Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu: Miami -1.5
College Football Betting Online: The city of Orlando has really turned into one of the big hotbeds for sports in recent years, and part of the reason for that has been the remodeling and rebranding of the Citrus Bowl, now known as Camping World Stadium. It's really looked upon as a world class facility at this point in spite of the fact that it doesn't have a main tenant in it any longer for any sport with Orlando City moving to its new stadium in 2017, and the bowl games are the biggest draws for the stadium.
The Russell Athletic Bowl is the No. 2 bowl game in Orlando behind the Citrus Bowl, but history will tell you in a year where one of the big time Florida schools is involved, it might as well be the 1-A game. The Miami Hurricanes are here in the City Beautiful this season, and they'll be joined by a good traveling team for the postseason, the West Virginia Mountaineers.
WVU won 10 games this season and has performed well in bowl games under Dana Holgorsen. The team won the Cactus Bowl last year over Arizona State, its first bowl victory since the 2011 Orange Bowl against Clemson. That said, the 'Eers seem to play bigger in bigger bowl games, and that's bad news for a Miami team that unbelievably hasn't won a bowl game since 2006.
The Hurricanes have played in the Russell Athletic Bowl four times in the past, though only two of those times have been in Orlando ( previously, the bowl game was held in Miami ). The Hurricanes were beaten 20-14 by Wisconsin in 2009 and put on a horrible display in a 36-9 loss to Louisville in 2013.
West Virginia lost the 2010 Russell Athletic Bowl to N.C. State 23-7 and was beaten in both 1994 and 1997 when this game was played in Miami.
Russell Athletic Bowl Preview
The Russell Athletic Bowl is an annual college football bowl game that is played in Orlando, Florida, at Camping World Stadium. The bowl is operated by Florida Citrus Sports, a non-profit group which also organizes the Citrus Bowl and Florida Classic. The 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl will be held on December 28 and televised on ESPN at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Originally titled the Blockbuster Bowl, and also sponsored by CarQuest and Micron PC, the game was born in Miami, Florida, in 1990 and thrived in its first year with a marquee matchup between Penn State and Florida State, which drew more than 74,000 fans. Over the next 11 years, however, the game’s attendance dwindled, and it became apparent that the game would not survive in south Florida.
Sensing a unique opportunity to bring a second bowl game to Orlando, the Florida Citrus Sports Board of Directors initiated a process of obtaining the bowl’s certification. In 2001, the bowl changed hands, and was relocated to Orlando. In a tribute to Orlando’s original bowl game, the first contest was called the Tangerine Bowl.
Foot Locker, the parent company of Champs Sports, purchased naming rights in 2004, naming it the Champs Sports Bowl. In early 2012, Russell Athletic signed an agreement with Florida Citrus Sports to be the new title sponsor of the game through 2017.
From 2006-2010, the bowl matched teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference. Under the terms of a television deal signed with ESPN in 2006, the bowl was to be held after Christmas Day from 2006 onward, and be shown on ESPN in prime time. The change was made to move the game from the less-desirable pre-Christmas date utilized from 2001-2004.
With each successive year in Orlando, the bowl has continued to make strides, at one point posting eight consecutive years of attendance increases, a standing record among bowl games. That growth reached a crescendo in 2011, the last game under the Champs Sports Bowl name, when Florida State and Notre Dame played before a sold-out crowd of 68,305. Over the past five years, the bowl has averaged just shy of 55,000 fans per game.
The game's place in the postseason lineup has also improved significantly over its time in Orlando. In the new College Football Playoff era, the bowl will match the top selection from the ACC – including Notre Dame – outside of the CFP series against the second selection from the Big 12 outside of the CFP series.
Last season’s Russell Athletic Bowl reversed a trend that saw the previous six games cash the under. Baylor exploded for 756 yards of offense and held on for a 49-38 win over North Carolina. The teams exceeded the lofty point total of 73. The Bears also became the second straight underdog to win the game outright, following Clemson’s upset of Oklahoma in the previous year’s matchup.
2015 Russell Athletic Bowl – Baylor 49, North Carolina 38
2014 Russell Athletic Bowl – Clemson 40, Oklahoma 6
2013 Russell Athletic Bowl – Louisville 36, Miami, Fla. 9
2012 Russell Athletic Bowl – Virginia Tech 13, Rutgers 10 (ot)
2011 Champs Sports Bowl – Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14
2010 Champs Sports Bowl – North Carolina State 23, West Virginia 7
2009 Champs Sports Bowl – Wisconsin 20, Miami 14
2008 Champs Sports Bowl – Florida State 42, Wisconsin 13
2007 Champs Sports Bowl – Boston College 24, Michigan State 21
2006 Champs Sports Bowl – Maryland 24, Purdue 7
2005 Champs Sports Bowl – Clemson 19, Colorado 10
2004 Champs Sports Bowl – Georgia Tech 51, Syracuse 14
2003 Mazda Tangerine Bowl – North Carolina State 56, Kansas 26
2002 Mazda Tangerine Bowl – Texas Tech 55, Clemson 15
2001 Visit Florida Tangerine Bowl – Pittsburgh 34, North Carolina State 19
2000 MicronPC.com Bowl – North Carolina State 38, Minnesota 30
1999 MicronPC Bowl – Illinois 63, Virginia 21
1998 MicronPC Bowl – Miami 46, North Carolina State 23
1997 Carquest Bowl – Georgia Tech 35, West Virginia 30
1996 Carquest Bowl – Miami 31, Virginia 21
1995 Carquest Bowl – North Carolina 20, Arkansas 10
1994 Carquest Bowl – South Carolina 24, West Virginia 21
1993 Carquest Bowl – Boston College 31, Virginia 13
1992 Blockbuster Bowl – Stanford 24, Penn State 3
1991 Blockbuster Bowl – Alabama 30, Colorado 25
1990 Blockbuster Bowl – Florida State 24, Penn State 17
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