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Virginia to play South Carolina in the 2018 Belk Bowl

The Hoos are headed back to Charlotte after a 14-year absence.

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers will play in the 2018 Belk Bowl on Dec. 29 at 12 p.m., the ACC announced on Sunday afternoon.

The Hoos will face the South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Hoos (7-5) are going back to Bank of America Stadium for the first time since 2003, when they played in what was then known as the Continental Tire Bowl. They were featured in the first two editions of the game, beating West Virginia 48-22 and Pittsburgh 23-16, respectively. Virginia hasn’t won a bowl game since 2005, when a second-half comeback gave them the win over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl.

South Carolina also finished the regular season 7-5. All five of their losses came at the hands of ranked SEC (and one ACC) opponents, including No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia, No. 17 Kentucky, No. 19/21 Florida, and No. 22 Texas A&M.

Three of SC’s four conference wins were by four points or less (Missouri 37-35, Tennessee 27-24, and Ole Miss 48-44). They easily handled Vanderbilt, 37-14.

The Hoos are 13-20-1 all-time against the Gamecocks, in a series that dates back to 1912. The two schools used to face each other on a regular basis before the establishment of conferences, and again when the two were in the Southern Conference, followed by the ACC, before the Gamecocks left in 1971.

Since 1990, Virginia and South Carolina have only faced each other twice—in 2002 (W, 34-21) and in 2003 (L, 7-31). The two have never played each other in the postseason.

In a way, the game could be symbolic of the next step in Virginia’s attempt to return to ACC prominence. Charlotte is as central of a location as an ACC team could get—a 90-minute drive from the league’s Greensboro headquarters. Moreover, it’s a little under five hours driving from Charlottesville and should be just a little warmer than Annapolis was last year.

Bronco Mendenhall and company couldn’t have asked for a better destination. Stay with Streaking The Lawn over the next few weeks as your one-stop shop for Belk Bowl news and previews.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Would you have rather seen a different opponent?