The University of Virginia football program announced Sunday that it has accepted a bid to the 2018 Belk Bowl, where the Cavaliers will face the South Carolina Gamecocks of the SEC on Saturday, December 29 at Noon EST.
The 2018 Belk Bowl will be held at the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers – Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. This will be Virginia’s third appearance in the event, although the Cavaliers haven’t been a participant since the 2003 season, when they defeated Larry Fitzgerald-led Pittsburgh in what was then the Continental Tire Bowl. The Hoos also defeated West Virginia in the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl.
With this acceptance, Virginia has achieved consecutive bowl appearances for the first time since 2005, which also happens to be the last season the Cavaliers experienced a bowl victory (a win over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl). UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall has guided the program to its first winning season since 2011, which is also the last time the program reached postseason play (the Chick Fil-A Bowl versus Auburn).
Virginia is 15-22 in three seasons under Mendenhall, who became head coach in December of 2015. The Hoos won seven of 12 regular season games in 2018, including victories over bowl-bound teams Ohio, Duke and Miami. UVA lost three of its last four games of the regular season, dropping its final two games versus Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech by 3 points apiece, but Mendenhall and company are enthusiastic about the opportunity in Charlotte.
“To be selected to play in this year’s Belk Bowl is a tremendous honor for our team and we are excited to return to Charlotte where Virginia won the bowl’s first two games in 2002 and 2003,” Mendenhall said in the official Virginia athletics press release. As a head coach with BYU (6-5) and now UVA (0-1), Mendenhall has compiled a 6-6 bowl game record.
Mendenhall continued: “One of the team’s goals this year was to play in back-to-back bowl games for the first time in 14 seasons. I am proud they have accomplished that and took another step in establishing the New Standard for the program. It has been a fun and rewarding experience to coach this team. They love to work. They love to get better and they love to compete. Their approach has been consistent and an embodiment of the core principles for the program. They’ll have great focus in their preparation for the bowl game because it is a chance to build on the progress the program has made this year.”
Like Virginia, South Carolina claimed a 7-5 regular season record in 2018. The Gamecocks have alternated between wins and losses each week except for a 2-game winning streak in late October/early November, when head coach Will Muschamp’s bunch defeated Tennessee and Ole Miss. South Carolina defeated two bowl-bound opponents, Vanderbilt and Missouri.
2018 Belk Bowl Ticket Information
Per Virginia’s official release …
Tickets in Virginia’s block range from $62 to $145 (including ticket fees). Virginia Athletics Foundation donors and football season ticket holders will be eligible to purchase tickets from UVA’s seating block at Bank of America Stadium beginning Sunday, Dec. 2 shortly after the bowl announcement. The general public may request tickets shortly after the announcement. Should tickets remain, requests made by the general public would be fulfilled on Monday afternoon prior to the open sale.
Should inventory remain, a public sale of Belk Bowl tickets in UVA’s seating block at Bank of America Stadium will begin Monday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.
UVA students will be eligible to purchase tickets beginning Sunday, Dec. 2 shortly after the bowl announcement. Student tickets cost $62 (including ticket fees).
Tickets may be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 1-800-542-UVA1 or in-person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office beginning Monday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m.