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College Football Betting Online: The largest city in the state of North Carolina desperately wanted to host a major college bowl game. The only thing missing was a first-class venue. That changed when Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, opened. In 2002 the city was granted certification by the NCAA to host the Queen City Bowl, which, after several sponsorship deals is currently known as the Belk Bowl.
The 2017 Belk Bowl will take place on Friday, December 29 at 1 p.m. ET from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The game will be televised by ESPN.
Belk Bowl Odds at BookMaker.eu
Wake Forest Demon Deacons -3
Texas A&M Aggies +3
Jimbo Fisher is joining the Aggies, but he’ll be little more than a fan in this one as he preps to take over the program next season. Fisher will be tasked with building the program back to dominance, but a bowl game victory would be a nice transition.
Both the Demon Deacons and Aggies enter play having gone 7-5 and in search of an eight-win season. Wake Forest is the favorite by a field goal and enter play 8-3 ATS this season. Texas A&M, however, wasn’t too shabby and covered in seven contests.
Statistically, the Aggies rank moderately on all fronts, but lack any stand-out aspect to their game. On the other side, Wake Forest has a top-notch quarterback that contributes in the air and on the ground.
John Wolford was effective in the air if not prolific. He threw for 25 touchdowns with just six picks and amassed 2,792 yards with a 63.7-percent completion percentage. That’s solid, but his 615 rushing yards and 10 scores on the ground add to what the Texas A&M defense must handle.
Defensively is where the Demon Deacons are more exposed. They’ve struggled at times in the secondary, allowing big plays that’ve cost Wake Forest wins. Duke Ejiofor, however, should be healthy which helps. The star defender struggled down the stretch due to injury and, as a result, Wake Forest struggled, too.
On the other side, the Aggies have a respectable running attack, but if Texas A&M is going to get the upset, it’ll come on the shoulders of Christian Kirk. The answer under center for the Aggies is a question, but Kirk is a dynamic target regardless of who is throwing the ball his way.
Kirk will be a top pick in the upcoming draft, but the NFL hopeful will suit up one last time in the Belk Bowl, looking for a statement game and to go out with a win.
Belk Bowl Format
The game originally featured affiliations with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East through the 2012 game, after which the Big East disbanded and the football playing schools formed the American Athletic Conference. The agreement with the AAC continued for just one season before it was amended.
In early December 2002, Virginia and West Virginia accepted invitations to play in the inaugural bowl game, pitting the No. 2 team from the ACC against the No. 2 team from the Big East. In less than a week the game was declared a sellout. The initial game drew a crowd of 73,535 to Bank of America Stadium. It is believed to be the fastest sellout of a first-year bowl game in history.
Belk, a department store chain based in Charlotte, purchased a three-year naming rights deal for the bowl in 2011, officially changing the name to the current Belk Bowl. A six-year sponsorship agreement was reached with Belk in 2014 at which time game organizers struck a deal with the Southeastern Conference, squeezing the AAC out of the picture. The bowl will again feature the 2nd-pooled selection from the ACC against the 2nd-pooled selection in the SEC after the College Football Playoff.
Belk Bowl Game Results
|Season ||Winners ||Losers|
|2015||Mississippi State||North Carolina State|
|2011||North Carolina State||Louisville|
|2008||West Virginia||North Carolina|
|2005||North Carolina State||South Florida|
|2004||Boston College||North Carolina|
Like most bowl games, the Belk Bowl has tried to keep a regional theme to attract larger crowds and create more interest. For the most part the strategy has worked and the game has been a success in terms of attendance. North Carolina (4) and North Carolina State (3) have played in the game a combined seven time. It’s about a two-hour drive from the campus of both schools to Charlotte and the teams travel well.
The city of Charlotte knows how to put on a show and the Belk Bowl is another opportunity. The ACC Championship moves back to Bank of America Stadium in 2017 after the league moved it out of North Carolina the previous year in a political statement. Charlotte had hosted the game from 2010 through 2015.
Virginia Tech is the only school to participate in the ACC Championship game and the Belk Bowl in the same season. The Hokies lost the title game to Clemson last season in Orlando and returned less than a month later to defeat Arkansas in the Belk Bowl.
With its selection of teams the bowl has been able to keep its conference tie-ins. Only once in the 15-year history has an at-large team been invited. Playing as an independent in 2006, Navy accepted an invitation to play Boston College in what was the closest game of the bunch. The Middies had the ball and the lead with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. A turnover gave BC a chance and the Eagles drilled a field goal as time expired for the 25-24 win.
Most All-Time Wins at Belk Bowl
|Wins ||Team ||Years Won|
|2||Boston College||2004, 2006|
|2||North Carolina State||2005, 2011|
The Belk Bowl has been consistent with its selection of teams over the years. Only four conferences have had a representative and that’s only because the Big East split from its football playing brethren, who formed the AAC. The regional profile has been good for the bowl with a connection between the ACC and Bank of America Stadium.
It’s not surprising to see ACC teams have success in the game. Boston College, North Carolina State and Virginia each have a pair of victories, the most in bowl history. The Cavaliers won the first two bowl games, knocking off West Virginia and Pittsburgh, but haven’t been back since.
In its first appearance in the game, Virginia Tech helped the ACC end a two-game losing streak to the SEC in the new alignment by defeating Arkansas 35-24 in last year’s game. The Hokies scored 35 unanswered second-half points to get the victory in their 24th consecutive bowl game.
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