In celebration of this year’s 50th game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl released its honorary “50th Anniversary Team,” made up of past players and coaches who have participated in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl since its first game in 1968.
The team consists of 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, three special-teams players and a head coach. Members were evaluated and selected by a panel based on criteria ranging from performance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, to career accolades and honors. The head coach was the only position selected by a fan vote.
The players combined to produce 21 All-American honors and 13 College Football Hall of Fame selections. The team’s head coach -- Bobby Bowden -- is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
“Some of the game’s most iconic figures have played in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl over the past five decades,” Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl CEO & President Gary Stokan said in a news release. “Many teams and individual players over the past 50 years helped write the Bowl’s history book. We wanted to properly honor and recognize these individuals who assisted us in reaching this 50th Anniversary milestone.”
The ACC leads the way with 14 selections, while the Big 12, Big Ten and SEC are also represented on the team. N.C. State, North Carolina and Tennessee had the most alumni selected, with three players from each of those programs being recognized.
The offense is led by quarterback Jim Kelly who helped the Miami Hurricanes to a 20-10 win in the 1980 Peach Bowl. Behind Kelly are running backs Don McCauley from North Carolina (played in the Peach Bowl in 1970) and N.C. State’s Ted Brown (1975, 1977). The two wide receivers are David Williams from Illinois (1985) and Ron Sellers from Florida State (1968) and flanking the offensive line is Tennessee tight end Jason Witten (2002). The offensive line is comprised of North Carolina’s Harris Barton (1983), Virginia’s Jim Dombrowski (1984), N.C. State’s Jim Richter (1977), Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews (2013) and Georgia’s Matt Stinchcomb (1995, 1998).
The stout defensive line on the 50th Anniversary Team is comprised of North Carolina’s Julius Peppers (2001), Kentucky’s Art Still (1976) Tennessee’s Reggie White (1982) and Maryland’s Randy White (1973). The next level of the defense contains linebackers Darryl Talley from West Virginia (1981), Wilber Marshall from Florida (1981) and Mike Singletary from Baylor (1979). And finally, the secondary encompasses cornerbacks Merton Hanks from Iowa (1988) and Rob Woodson from Purdue (1984), and safeties Eric Berry from Tennessee (2009) and Michael Brooks from N.C. State (1988).
And you can’t forget about the special teams. Texas A&M’s Josh Lambo (2013) serves as the team’s place kicker. Miami’s Devin Hester (2004, 2005) handles the return duties and Iowa’s Reggie Roby (1982) is the punter.
Bowdon coached in three Peach Bowls -- two with West Virginia in 1972 and 1975 and one with Florida State in 1983. He was victorious in the last two.
This year’s rendition of the nation’s ninth oldest bowl game will pit No.12 and undefeated Central Florida and No. 7 Auburn. The game will kick off from Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 1, at 12:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN.