The #24 Duke Blue Devils and the #21 Texas A&M Aggies will meet in Atlanta at the already sold-out Chick-fil-A Bowl at 8 p.m. in prime time on New Year’s Eve.
Bowl officials extended the invitations to each team’s athletic director and head coach in a teleconference Sunday night, setting up this year’s 22nd renewal of the ACC vs. SEC rivalry game.
“Getting a matchup like this is like getting to open your Christmas presents early,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “Pitting a 10-win Duke team, coming off its best season ever, against an SEC powerhouse brand like Texas A&M is going to create a very compelling shootout that we’ll get to show off in front of a sold-out crowd in the Georgia Dome New Year’s Eve.”
Duke (10-3, 6-2 ACC) comes into the game winners in eight of its last nine games. Under Walter Camp Coach of the Year winner David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils earned their first Coastal Division title, won 10 games for the first time in school history, and have a chance to make it 11 against the Aggies.
“We are absolutely thrilled to accept the invitation to play in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl,” said Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White. “Under David Cutcliffe’s consummate leadership, not to mention the extraordinary staff, this is indeed a magical time for Duke football and most importantly, the student-athletes that represent the program. To be sure, what has been accomplished during David’s tenure at Duke has been simply remarkable and we could not be more proud that this unprecedented season will culminate with an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Let me also express deep appreciation to Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Bowl Committee for providing the invitation which serves as a wonderful acknowledgement relative to Duke’s historical 2013 season.”
“We’re obviously thrilled to be selected to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which continues to have a great partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference, and to have the opportunity to play against a terrific Texas A&M squad,” said David Cutcliffe, Duke head coach. “The Chick-fil-A Bowl has long been considered one of the top-tier and most prestigious bowls across the college football landscape and Atlanta is without a doubt one of the college football’s premier cities. I’m extremely excited for our seniors, who will finish their careers as the first group in Duke history to play in back-to-back bowl games. As I’ve said before, we’ve had the finest leadership from our players in my 33 seasons of coaching at the collegiate level. After our exam schedule this week, we look forward to getting back to the practice field in preparation for what I anticipate to be a great game on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.”
Duke and Texas A&M have never met and will face each other for the first time in this game. Both teams are making their first appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Texas A&M (8-4, 4-4 SEC) enters its first Chick-fil-A Bowl with one of the nation’s premier offenses led by 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The Aggies’ attack ranks in the top 10 in passing, scoring, pass efficiency and total offense while playing in the brutally tough SEC West.
“Having been to the Chick-fil-A Bowl previously, I can attest that it is one of the top bowls in the country in terms of excitement, the venue and overall hospitality,” said Texas A&M Director of Athletics Eric Hyman. “Texas A&M is looking forward to being in Atlanta for New Year’s Eve as the SEC’s representative. The 12th Man will embrace the total experience in Atlanta and the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s fun-filled atmosphere.”
“We are extremely excited to be playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, right in the heart of SEC Country,” said Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin. “The Chick-fil-A Bowl has a long legacy of hospitality for players, coaches and staff, and we know that the eyes of the country will be on Texas A&M this New Year’s Eve. I have known Coach Cutcliffe for a number of years. I have the utmost respect for him and his program at Duke. They have put together a terrific season and this will be a challenge for our team.”
The ACC leads the SEC 11 wins to 10 since the two conferences began meeting for regional bragging rights in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 1992. This will mark the final ACC vs. SEC Chick-fil-A Bowl in its current format before the Chick-fil-A Bowl joins the College Football Playoff next season.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl will be played at 8 p.m., Dec. 31 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome and will be nationally televised by ESPN, running unopposed in its prime time slot.