Dave Clawson would not hide his excitement.
He is coming home for the holidays. And he’s bringing his team with him.
“New York has always been a place that’s special to me and my family,” Clawson said during the Pinstripe Bowl news conference Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. “We’re thrilled to be back.”
Clawson’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons will meet Michigan State in the Dec. 27 bowl game. It will be the first time the ACC and Big Ten programs will play each other in football. It is also the first time both teams will play in the bowl game. There have only been two programs in the bowl’s history that have played in it twice: Rutgers (2011, 2013) and Boston College (2014 and 2017).
The teams will enter the 10th edition of the bowl game having had significantly different seasons. The Demon Deacons compiled an 8-4 overall record and were 4-4 in the ACC Atlantic Division, behind only Clemson and Louisville. Michigan State went 6-6 overall, and 4-5 in the Big Ten. The Spartans finished ahead of only Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten East Division.
“We’re not where we want to be,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We’re a 6-6 football team right now.”
Which did not seem to trouble Yankees president Randy Levine, who formally welcomed the teams to the Bronx.
“We’re so happy to have you here. It’s going to be great. First time ever [for] Wake Forest and Michigan State, two great conferences,” said Levine, who did not take questions about baseball at the news conference. Later Levine praised Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and ACC commissioner John Swofford “for being the Yankees’ partner.”