The Cardinals take on NC State in first Belk Bowl
The month of December is wonderful for all fans of college football. This is when the bowl season starts, and there is literally a different bowl game, every evening, for two weeks or so. Of course, this needs to hold you over, as after the second Monday in January, you are completely without any college football (minus the spring camp) until the following September. One such bowl is the Belk Bowl. This bowl, played in Charlotte, North Carolina, pits Louisville against North Carolina State, on December the 27th. This isn't an overly attractive matchup, as both team is 7-5 and neither impressed very much during the regular season, but it should be rather entertaining, especially if you are a fan of the sport.
North Carolina State should at least have the home field advantage, as the bowl is played within the same state. Louisville fans don't have to travel very far, but the home crowd will, more than likely, turn out in favor of NC State.
North Carolina State didn't have much to play for towards the end of the season, but the same is not exactly true for Louisville. The team was actually in a tie with two other schools in the Big East, and if the team had been ranked ahead of West Virginia (it isn't ranked at all), the team would be playing in a BCS bowl. This speaks to how poor the Big East is this year, as a 23rd ranked football team made an automatic bid into the BCS, which is suppose to be designated for the nationals elite. Of course, the ACC can't boast much better, as even though two teams made it to the BCS, neither came off as impressive (Virginia Tech lost to the same Clemson team twice by more than a combined 60 points). NC State did beat Clemson, the winner of the ACC, but this doesn't speak much as the caliber of the ACC and Big East are not on par with the surrounding SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 schools.
Both teams started off poorly in the beginning of the season, as NC State started at 2-3, while Louisville at 2-4. However, both teams made impressive comebacks during the season, as NC State beat Clemson and Maryland just to become bowl eligible.
Outside of helping each respective conference have a solid bowl season, the game really has no significance. There are no Heisman trophy candidates, and the offenses and defenses are average, at best. It is going to be one of your average bowl games, but that is what you come to expect, on a mid-level bowl game. This game is more for the players than anything else, as it gives the seniors on both Louisville and NC State the opportunity to play one last game. Sure, most of the seniors didn't want to end their careers in the Belk Bowl in North Carolina, but it is better than staying home. Thankfully, the two teams seem evenly matched, both in record and in stats, as the stats for passing, rushing, total offense and total defense are almost exact mirrors of one another. This should hopefully keep people watching the game, as long as it stays close until the end, otherwise, it is going to be a bit of a drag game to watch, as there aren't any real rooting interests, outside of conference alignments.