Charlotte may not be a dream destination for everybody on the holidays, but for the Wake Forest football team and a lot of its fans, it will be THE place to be on December 29th, 2017.
Sources: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M in Belk Bowl— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 3, 2017
For the second straight year the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5) will go bowling, and yet again the Deacs will get the bowl bid that most of its fans wanted, a Belk Bowl match-up in Charlotte against the SEC’s Texas A&M Aggies (7-5).
Assistant coach Jeff Banks will be the interim coach for the Aggies, who fired previous coach Kevin Sumlin after a regular season finale loss to LSU 45-21. The Aggies made waves earlier this week when it hired former Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher to a 10 year, $75M contract.
This is also the second straight season that Wake Forest and Dave Clawson will face a team without a head coach, as last year the Deacs took advantage of Matt Rhule heading to Baylor and defeated the Ed Foley-led Temple Owls 34-26 behind a dominant first half performance.
Fisher will no doubt be on the sideline and perhaps provide some input on Wake Forest since he coached the Seminoles to a win over the Deacs in Winston-Salem earlier this season.
This will be Texas A&M’s 8th consecutive bowl appearance and 39th overall (17-21). Wake Forest heads to its second straight bowl game and its 12th overall (7-4). In fact, Texas A&M has won 6 more conference championships in its history (18) than Wake Forest has made bowl games (12).
The Aggies are ranked 63rd in the S&P+ rankings while Wake Forest sits at 36th. I would expect the Deacs to open up as a three point favorite or so, but based on name brand recognition it could be closer to a pick’em.
This will be the second appearance in this Charlotte bowl game for Wake Forest, previously named the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The Deacs defeated UConn 24-10 in 2007 in front of 53,126, that is one of the biggest gatherings of Wake Forest fans in history.
Wake officially sold 19,500 tickets from the school in ‘07, exceeding the initial allotment of 12,500 by over 50%. Including fans who purchased tickets through a secondary market there were an estimated 25,000-30,000 Demon Deacon fans in the stadium to watch the game.
In fact, Wake Forest fans have done an incredible job traveling to bowl games historically, selling nearly 20,000 tickets to Charlotte in 2007, 17,500 to the Orange Bowl in 2006, and over 10,000 to both Nashville in 2011 and Annapolis last year.
For a school that graduates around 1,000 students each year that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
While a complete replication of this could be a tough ask, there is no doubt that there will be a lot of Wake Forest fans in Charlotte to celebrate just the second time in school history that the Deacs have been to back-to-back bowl games.
Stay tuned to Blogger So Dear for complete coverage of the Belk Bowl, as well as the best way to get tickets (through the school) in the weeks leading up to the late December tilt with the Aggies!