Dec. 6, 2009
The University of Tennessee officially accepted Sunday an invitation to play in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Virginia Tech from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The game is set for Thursday, Dec. 31 in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on New Year's Eve with television coverage being provided by ESPN.
"We're absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Volunteers again in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and give coach Kiffin his first bowl experience at Tennessee," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. "We feel like we're getting the best SEC team available outside the BCS and a program that is one of the most significant brands in all of college football."
UT Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton echoed Stokan's enthusiasm for the selection.
"We're excited about the opportunity to return to the Chick-fil-A Bowl and play a tremendous opponent from the ACC," Hamilton said. "Gary Stokan and his staff have always done a tremendous job of hosting teams, coaches, administrators and fans. We are looking forward to spending a wonderful week in Atlanta."
Tennessee has played five times previously in the Atlanta bowl game. The Vols made appearances in the Peach Bowl in 1982 vs. Iowa and 1988 vs. Indiana. UT's Chick-fil-A Bowl appearances were in 2002 vs. Maryland and 2004 vs. Clemson. Tennessee is 1-3 in those games with the lone victory coming 27-22 over the Hoosiers in 1988.
This is Tennessee's 48th overall bowl appearance, which is tied for third among NCAA schools. The Vols have an all-time mark of 25-22, with the 25 wins ranking fourth in all of college football.
UT (7-5, 4-4 SEC) finished second in the SEC East playing the 25th most difficult schedule in the country. Tennessee comes into the game winners in four of its last five games and with head-to-head victories over Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina, SEC teams that were also considered by the bowl selection committee.
"We're really excited to be going to Atlanta for a great bowl game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl," said Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin. "Not only is this a great bowl game, but we have many players from the Atlanta area and the state of Georgia. It's a great location for us to be this postseason. We look forward to playing in a first-class bowl game and first-class facility."
The Vols and Hokies will match up for just the eighth time ever and for the second time in a bowl game. UT beat Virginia Tech 45-23 in the 1994 Gator Bowl, but that was the two schools' first meeting since 1937. The two programs played six times between 1896 and 1937. Tennessee is 5-2 overall in the series.
Virginia Tech enters the game ranked 12th in both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls. The Hokies finished the regular season 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the ACC, placing second in the Coastal Division. It is the program's 23rd bowl appearance and its third trip to Atlanta.
Tickets can be ordered on the Internet at UTTix.com or in person at the UT Athletics Ticket Office inside Thompson-Boling Arena. Telephone orders can be made by calling 865-656-1200 nationwide or toll free in the state of Tennessee at 1-800-332-8657.
UT has already sold 11,000 tickets from its allotment. All remaining tickets are $60 each.