MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee have been selected to meet in the fourth annual Camellia Bowl at the historic Cramton Bowl, it was announced Sunday afternoon by ESPN Events.
The 2017 Camellia Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m.CT. The game will be televised by ESPN. The Camellia Bowl is one of five bowl games to air on ESPN networks on the opening day of the college football bowl season.
Tickets to the fourth annual Camellia Bowl are on sale at www.espnevents.com/camellia-bowl/tickets. Tickets are $30 for reserved seats and $20 for general admission seating.
Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee are former Sun Belt Conference rivals. The Blue Raiders hold a 9-5 series lead and the teams met at conference rivals every year from 2001-11. Middle Tennessee won the first meeting between the two schools 14-7 in 1948.
“We are excited to have Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee in the fourth annual Camellia Bowl,” Johnny Williams, Executive Director of the Camellia Bowl said. “The two teams are former conference rivals and we look forward to renewing that rivalry in Montgomery. We encourage both fan bases to make the trip to Alabama for an exciting college football game.”
The three previous Camellia Bowl games have been decided by 10 total points. Bowling Green defeated South Alabama 33-28 in 2014, Appalachian State defeated Ohio 31-29 in 2015 and Appalachian State defeated Toledo 31-28 in 2016.
Arkansas State (7-4, 6-2 Sun Belt) finished third in the Sun Belt Conference standings, behind co-champions Appalachian State and Troy this year. ASU has won five Sun Belt Conference titles in the last seven years, including back-to-back conference championships in 2012-13 and 2015-16. Since the 2015 season, ASU is 21-3 in its last 24 conference games.
Arkansas State is in a bowl game for the seventh straight year. The Red Wolves current streak includes four straight GoDaddy.com Bowl appearances (2012-15), 2015 New Orleans Bowl, 2016 Cure Bowl and 2017 Camellia Bowl. ASU is 4-6-1 in its 11 all-time bowl games. The school’s bowl history dates back to a 46-12 win over Camp Breckenridge (Morganfield, Kentucky) in the 1951 Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Indiana.
Middle Tennessee (6-6, 4-4 Conference USA) is one of 10 bowl eligible teams from Conference USA. The Blue Raiders were tied for third in the C-USA Eastern Division this season. Middle Tennessee had finished second in the division every year from 2013-16.
Middle Tennessee is playing in a bowl game for the third straight year. The Blue Raiders played in the 2015 Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl and 2016 Hawaii Bowl. Middle Tennessee is 1-8 all-time in bowl play. The Blue Raiders Bowl history dates back to a 27-17 loss to Sam Houston State in the 1956 Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Indiana.