Auburn, Virginia to meet in Chick-fil-A Bowl

The 44th Chick-fil-A Bowl will match Virginia against Auburn at 7:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve at the Georgia Dome.

The invitations were accepted by Virginia and Auburn officials during a conference call Sunday afternoon.

The schools have met twice (1998, 1997) with each school winning once.

“Virginia and Auburn represent two of the most exciting young teams in the country,” Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said. “With these two teams, we have two top-tier coaching staffs, incredible fan bases and great history and tradition. We’re expecting an unmatched atmosphere.”

Virginia (8-4, 5-3) will be making its fourth appearance in the  bowl. The Cavaliers were second in the ACC Coastal Division. Coach Mike London, the ACC Coach of the Year, guided the Cavaliers to a four-win improvement in his second season in Charlottesville, including a victory against Georgia Tech.

“We are excited to be coming to Atlanta. We have great memories from our previous bowl trips to Atlanta, including an exciting, last-minute victory against the University of Georgia in 1995," Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage said. “We're seeing tangible results on the field having completed the regular season with victories against ranked opponents Georgia Tech and Florida State and a Thursday night win at Miami on ESPN.”

London was equally gratified. “No one on our roster has played in a bowl game, so what a fantastic opportunity and setting for them to do so for the first time.”

In Virginia's  three appearances in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Cavaliers dropped a 35-33 decision to Georgia in 1998 and got victories in 1995 (34-27 over Georgia) and 1984 (27-24 over Purdue).

Auburn (7-5, 4-4) will be making its fifth appearance in the bowl, just a year removed from winning the BCS national title. The Tigers spent seven weeks in the AP Top 25 poll, but lost to LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Clemson. They also defeated top 10 South Carolina in Columbia. Based on the strength of its schedule, Auburn got into the final BCS rankings at No. 25 on Sunday.

“The Chick-fil-A Bowl is a first-class organization, and Virginia is an outstanding program. This will be a very good test for our football team and a great opportunity for our fans to come support the Tigers in Atlanta, which is close and convenient for our alumni and fan base," Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said.

Coach Gene Chizik said: “I know our players are excited for this opportunity and I look forward to our fans helping pack the Georgia Dome on New Year’s Eve.”

Auburn is 3-1 in the bowl  (2007, 2001, 1996, 1990), including an overtime win against Clemson in 2007.