On football’s version of Selection Sunday, the 6-6 Missouri Tigers have officially learned their bowl destination (and no, it’s not the Liberty Bowl against kansas).
The Tigers are Tampa bound, landing in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl against ACC opponent Wake Forest on Friday, December 23rd. The kick-off is set for 5:30 p.m. CST on ESPN. The game will be played at Raymond James Stadium – the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The bowl matchup was first reported by 247Sports’ Brad Crawford and later confirmed by the program.
The Demon Deacons finished the regular season with a record of 7-5. Wake started off the season 6-1 and jumped into the AP Top 10 with a double overtime loss to Clemson and a win on the road against a ranked Florida State team – but lost four out of their last five games.
Star quarterback Sam Hartman totaled 35 touchdown passes on the season, tied for the ACC league lead with North Carolina’s Drake Maye. Wake Forest is making their seventh consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Dave Clawson. The Deacons are 4-2 in their last six bowl games.
While the Gasparilla isn’t among the SEC Pool of Six bowls, Tampa is a good location for the Mizzou fanbase to travel to near the holidays and playing a Power Five opponent in an NFL stadium should generate a better interest for this game. The players and coaches also get their main preference of a pre-Christmas bowl — and it doesn’t interfere with any Missouri basketball game, so this is the best-case scenario for everyone involved.
From all indications, this should be a close game. In ESPN’s Bill Connelly’s latest SP+ rankings, Mizzou comes in at 45th overall and Wake Forest comes in at 44th. Action Network lists Wake Forest as 2.5 point favorites.
This is the first ever meeting between Missouri and Wake Forest. Mizzou is looking for their first bowl game win since the New Year’s Day 2014 Citrus Bowl against Minnesota.
Plenty of more coverage to come on Rock M Nation all throughout Mizzou’s bowl season. It’s officially official!