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Duke to face Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl Dec. 27
By STEVE REED
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Duke Blue Devils will make their first bowl appearance since 1994, taking on the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 11th annual Belk Bowl Dec. 27 in Charlotte.
It's the first appearance for both schools in the Belk Bowl.
Duke finished the season with a 6-6 record, including a 3-5 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Blue Devils won six of their first eight games. They beat rival North Carolina 33-30 to become bowl eligible, but lost their final four contests. Coach David Cutcliffe was named the 2012 ACC Coach of the Year and nine Blue Devils earned All-ACC recognition.
Cincinnati (9-3 overall, 5-2 in the Big East) won their first five games and then four of their last five contests to earn a share of the Big East title.
"Duke has made great strides this season and we are very proud to have them representing the ACC against the Co-Champions of the Big East," Belk Bowl executive director Will Webb said. "We feel that the Blue Devils will provide a good matchup against the Bearcats in Charlotte."
Cutcliffe said he couldn't more excited for his players, especially his seniors.
"I thought coming out of spring practice that we had a chance to be a good team, a bowl-caliber team," Cutcliffe said. "We battled through some adversity, received tremendous leadership from our captains and reached the goal of playing in the postseason. This is a great opportunity for our seniors to end the season on a winning note.
"For our returning players, it is going to be a chance to gain invaluable experience and practice opportunity as we continue to grow as a program."
The Bearcats will be playing in their 14th bowl game and sixth in the past seven seasons.
Cincinnati is 7-6 all-time in post-season games.
The Bearcats have won outright or shared the Big East title in four of the past five years.
In the past two seasons the Bearcats are 19-6 with two Big East titles and a win over SEC foe Vanderbilt in the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
"We are pleased to accept a bid to the Belk Bowl," Bearcats coach Butch Jones said. "We are excited by the prospect of a great number of Cincinnati fans being the team behind the team and helping us celebrate the holiday season in Charlotte."
Updated December 2, 2012