26th Annual Russell Athletic Bowl Ranked Among Top Bowl Games
When the 26th annual Russell Athletic Bowl was announced, the internet went ablaze when Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12) and North Carolina (11-2, 8-0 ACC) were selected to come to Orlando.
The matchup features two of the highest scoring offenses in the country. Baylor is ranked first nationally in points per game and total offense. On the other hand, North Carolina is in the top-20 in both categories (19th in offense, 11th in points per game).
The media realizes how fun this game can be as many have ranked the Russell Athletic Bowl in the top-10 of the 40 bowl games this year.
Here’s what the media is saying about the Russell Athletic Bowl:
Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports. Rank: 5
“The Bowl Game Most Likely To Feature 100 Points And 1,000 Total Yards Award goes to …”
“If Baylor gets quarterback Jarrett Stidham back before the bowl game, this might be an exciting, high-flying shootout. The Bears looked like a playoff team until they lost quarterbacks Seth Russell to a neck injury and then Stidham to a broken ankle. The Tar Heels gave Clemson a pretty good fight in the ACC championship game, and a victory over the Bears might silence some of their lingering doubters.”
“This game has the potential to be a lot of fun if Baylor can find a worthwhile quarterback. The Bears lead the nation averaging 48 points per game and the Tar Heels average 40.9 points per game. Both of these teams missed out on CFP and NY6 spots, so while points are possible, motivation might be lacking.”
Pete Fiutak, Campus Insiders. Rank: 7
Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network. Rank: 6
“North Carolina vs. Baylor. This could be the best non-New Year’s Day bowl of them all between pyrotechnic offenses. Don’t miss it.”
Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports. Rank: 6
“Hopefully QB Jarrett Stidham returns for Baylor, in which case the Bears offense you know and love will return to face the only offense averaging more yards per play. And hey, UNC could finally get that elusive Top 25 win.”
Bryan Fischer, Bleacher Report. Rank: 7
“Assuming Baylor gets its quarterback situation figured out, this could be a game that both teams turn into a track meet. North Carolina’s defense is improved, but it hasn’t really seen a one-two punch like Corey Coleman through the air and Shock Linwood on the ground. The entertainment factor for this game is off the charts.”
Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated. Rank: Five out of five footballs
“Can you say offense? Two teams that both had playoff aspirations at the end of the season must settle for a high-scoring outing in Orlando. The Bears rank first nationally in scoring (48 points per game), while Tar Heels check in at No. 11 (40.9).”