The full bowl announcements for the 2015 football season are underway, and with yesterday's loss dropping us to #4 in the Big 12 Conference rankings, the Baylor Bears are officially headed to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida to face the #2 team in the ACC, the UNC Tar Heels. UNC is coming off their second loss of the season last night to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game and boasts one of the best offenses in the land.
Here's the vital statistics on the Russell Athletic Bowl:
Matchup: UNC Tar Heels vs. Baylor Bears
Date: Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN
Location: Orlando | Orlando Citrus Bowl
Last year’s result: Clemson 40, Oklahoma 6
I included that last part to remind everyone that though this particular game might be disappointing, considering where we could have been, it can also be a springboard of sorts to better things a year from now. Both of last year's participants, including the team that lost the game by 34, are now in this year's College Football Playoff field. The winner is actually the #1 team in the country and went undefeated this year.
If we use this past week's advanced stats from FootballOutsiders.com (because they haven't updated yet), this bowl will pit the #7 team in Baylor against the #19 team in North Carolina by F/+. FEI likes North Carolina considerably less than S&P+, ranking them 30th vs. 10th, while Baylor (at least so far) is basically the same in both at 8th and 9th, respectively. Even still, if you believe S&P+, Baylor has the better offense (#1 vs. #19) and the better defense (#53 vs. #63), although those stats obviously include a time before we lost Seth Russell for the season and had so much uncertainty at the QB position.
With more than three weeks between us and the game, we'll have plenty of time to break down matchups and try to project how this game will go. For now, vote in the poll below!