ATLANTA (Dec. 2, 2012) – The Chick-fil-A Bowl today announced that the #14 Clemson Tigers will square off against the #8 LSU Tigers on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl officially extended invitations to both sets of Tigers for the 45th annual ACC/SEC showdown on New Year’s Eve in the Georgia Dome. The invitations were accepted by Clemson and LSU officials this evening.
"We’re about as excited as you can be to have two 10-win teams for the first time in our history with a Clemson-LSU match-up," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "These teams are two of the top teams in the country and create one of the best bowl game match-ups of the post season."
Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC) comes into the Bowl winners of seven of their last eight games and with an opportunity to win an 11th game for the fourth time in school history. The Tigers’ sixth-ranked offensive unit scores at a clip of 42.3 points per game behind a passing attack led by Tajh Boyd who threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns.
"We look forward to competing against a program that has won the National Championship and competed for many others in recent years," said Dan Radakovich. "The Chick-fil-A Bowl is one of the top bowls in the nation year-in and year-out and it will be great for our fans to return to Atlanta, one of the great college football cities in this country. This will be a game that will excite Clemson Nation."
"Our coaches, our players and our fans always look forward to playing against the best programs in the nation and LSU certainly fits that description. We are going to have the opportunity to compete against a top 10 team that played for it all last year," said Dabo Swinney, Clemson head coach. "I know our players will be excited to compete against LSU because they are among the best programs in the nation on a yearly basis. Les Miles is one of the top coaches in the nation. He has consistently competed for the national championship, including this year. They barely lost to Alabama, who is in the National Championship game this year."
"We started the year in Atlanta on national television against an SEC Tiger team and we will finish the year in the same stadium on national television against an SEC Tiger team," Swinney continued. "It is a great opportunity for our program. I have been to the Chick-fil-A Bowl many times before and it is one of the best bowls in the nation. Gary Stokan and his staff do a first-class job every year and we look forward to representing the ACC in this outstanding game."
Clemson has made seven appearances in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, most recently in 2007 against Auburn. The Tigers’ overall record in the Chick-fil-A Bowl is 2-5. Clemson has also appeared twice in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. They faced Alabama in 2008 and Auburn to open this season.
Clemson and LSU have met just twice, with both games going to LSU. The pair of Tigers first met in the 1958 Sugar Bowl and later met again in the 1996 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC) comes into the Bowl winners of five of their last six games with an opportunity to win an 11th game for the seventh time in its history. LSU’s stingy defensive squad only gave up 16.9 points per game, ranking them 11th nationally. The Tigers defeated three top-ranked teams playing in the toughest division in football (#3 South Carolina, #18 Texas A&M, #21 Miss. State) and their only losses came against two top-10 teams in the SEC (#10 Florida and #1 Alabama).
"Atlanta is a great city and the Georgia Dome is a tremendous venue," said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva. "Clemson is a quality opponent that is highly-ranked. This will be a great bowl game matchup featuring two very good football teams."
"Clemson is obviously a very talented team. Dabo Swinney has done a great job there and we look forward to a great matchup and a competitive game in the Chick-fil-A bowl between two very talented teams," said LSU Head Coach Les Miles. "We enjoy playing in Atlanta. It’s a great city that has been very good to LSU. I’m sure that we’ll travel extremely well. The Georgia Dome is an outstanding venue and we are excited about the opportunity to play in the Chick-fil-A bowl."
LSU is undefeated in five previous Chick-fil-A Bowl appearances. The Tigers most recent trip to Atlanta was a 38-3 win over Georgia Tech in 2008. LSU played in the inaugural Peach Bowl in 1968 against Florida State. LSU also played in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and earned a victory over North Carolina.
Teams from the ACC and SEC are tied at 10 wins each since the two conferences began meeting for regional bragging rights in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Chick-fil-A Bowl will be played at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 31 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome and will be nationally televised by ESPN, running unopposed in its prime time slot.
For more information, visit Chick-fil-ABowl.com and follow @chickfilabowl on Twitter.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project Clemson as the winner by 1.13 points.