The University of Tennessee has fared well within the state lines this season.
Sunday the Volunteers scheduled one more in-state contest. They accepted an invitation to face North Carolina in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, 5:30 p.m. (CST), Dec. 30 at LP Field.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the staff of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, we look forward to a great 2010 Bowl game, with two incredible universities in North Carolina and Tennessee," Scott Ramsey, the bowl president and CEO, said.
Tennessee won four straight games to finish 6-6 (third in the SEC's Eastern Division) and become bowl eligible in Derek Dooley’s first year as head coach. It will be the school's second straight trip to a bowl and fourth in the last five years.
Last season, Tennessee lost to Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
"This will be the fourth stadium that we play in in the state of Tennessee this year, and the support we've had at every stadium has been phenomenal," Dooley said. "I know our fans will be there in full force in Nashville."
In addition to Neyland Stadium, UT also played at Memphis and Vanderbilt (both victories) this season.
North Carolina (7-5) finished third in the ACC's Coastal Division.
The Tar Heels are headed to a bowl for the third straight time after opening the season with NCAA investigations looking into alleged benefits from agents and academic misconduct.
The two schools were scheduled to play a home and home series in 2011 and 2012. Earlier this year, though, Tennessee decided to pay a $750,000 buyout to opt out of the two games.
“I’m excited our program has an opportunity to play Tennessee in the 2010 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville,” UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour said. “I congratulate our student-athletes and coaching staff for their hard work, determination and perseverance this season."
The Music City Bowl was established in 1998 and for the past four years has matched teams from the SEC and ACC. SEC representatives won three straight before Clemson topped Kentucky 21-13 in 2009.
• Two for MTSU: Middle Tennessee State is heading to the GoDaddy.com Bowl where it will play Miami University (Ohio) on Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.
It will be the second straight bowl and third in the last five years for the Blue Raiders (6-6).
MTSU began the season 3-6 but won its last three games, including a 28-27 victory Saturday at Florida International, to become eligible.
The Blue Raiders are one of three Sun Belt Conference teams, along with Troy and Florida International, to receive bowl invitations. All three schools will match up against Mid-American Conference teams.
Miami is 9-4 and defeated Northern Illinois 26-21 Friday to win the MAC Championship Game. The Redhawks were just 1-11 last year.
“One of our goals entering the season was to play in a bowl game and I am extremely proud of our team and our coaching staff for accomplishing this,” MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said. “It has been like a playoff the past three games and I am proud of how these guys have handled the situation. They have showed a lot of character and toughness.”