The University of Connecticut football team (9-3, 5-2 BIG EAST) has accepted a bid to play in the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl, University and bowl officials announced on Tuesday afternoon. The Meineke Car Care Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 29, at 1:00 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.
The Huskies’ opponent, the fifth choice of teams from the ACC, will be announced at a later date. UConn will be making its second bowl appearance. The Huskies made their bowl debut in the 2004 Motor City Bowl where UConn downed MAC Champion Toledo, 39-10, at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 27, 2004.
“We are very excited to invite the University of Connecticut to the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl,” said executive director Will Webb. “We were able to secure the second place team in the BIG EAST Conference, which is a great achievement for UConn and for the Bowl. The Huskies fans also have a proven history of supporting their athletic teams. That enthusiasm should carry over to the streets of Charlotte during the Uptown Street Festival and Pep Rally. Once again, the Meineke Car Care Bowl will be an excellent opportunity for fans to experience an exciting and competitive college bowl game.”
“We are ecstatic to have been selected to play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl,” UConn head coach Randy Edsall said. “We were almost picked to play in Charlotte in 2004 and 2005 and I am excited that we will have this opportunity in 2007. This game will be an ideal way to cap off an exciting season of firsts here at UConn. The Meineke Car Care Bowl presents us with an opportunity to play against a good team from the Atlantic Coast Conference in a wonderful city and a top-notch NFL stadium. We greatly look forward to the challenge that our ACC opponent will bring and I know that our team, our fans and myself all eagerly await traveling to Charlotte next month.”
The Huskies went 9-3 in 2007, tying for the winningest regular season in the program’s 109-year history. The Huskies went 5-2 in BIG EAST play and currently stand all alone in second place in the league. Should Pittsburgh defeat West Virginia on Saturday night, UConn would be declared co-champions along with the Mountaineers.
UConn earned its first ever national rankings this year, reaching as high as No. 13 in the BCS rankings. When the Huskies debuted at No. 16 in the AP Poll on Oct. 28 it marked the highest debut ranking for a school since Florida State debuted at No. 10 in 1964. UConn was the second fastest team to ever earn a Football Bowl Subdivision ranking after moving up from the former Division I-AA, needing five years and 10 weeks to do so. Only Marshall (two years, four weeks) did so faster.
This season, UConn recorded its first ever win over a nationally-ranked team when it toppled No. 11 South Florida on Oct. 27 at Rentschler Field. In all, UConn defeated three teams (Louisville, USF and Rutgers) which were ranked in the top 10 at some point this season. UConn went a perfect 7-0 in games at Rentschler Field, becoming only the second BIG EAST team to ever post a 7-0 home record as UConn joins the 1993 West Virginia Mountaineers in that regard. UConn sold out each of its final four home games.