REGION — Oregon will face North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28, the first football game to be played at Petco Park, organizers announced Sunday.
After the New Year’s Six bowls, the Holiday Bowl gets the second selection among Pac-12 Conference teams following the Alamo Bowl. The Holiday Bowl is in a group with the Cheez-It Bowl and Gator Bowl that have the first picks among Atlantic Coast Conference teams following the New Year’s Six bowls.
The game will be the 43rd edition of the Holiday Bowl and first since 2019. The 2020 game was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. UCLA withdrew from the 2021 game hours before the planned opening kickoff “due to COVID-19 protocols within the Bruins’ program,” according to the university.
Organizers had sought a replacement for UCLA, but they were unable to find one.
This will be the first time an ACC team has played in the Holiday Bowl. Under an agreement announced in 2019, the ACC will supply a team for the game at least through 2025. The agreement was supposed to begin with the 2020 game.
The Ducks will be playing in the Holiday Bowl for the fourth time and first since 2008 when they defeated Oklahoma State 42-31.
Oregon (9-3) lost its season opener to Georgia 49-3, won its next eight games, then lost two of its next three, including a 38-34 loss to rival Oregon State in its regular-season finale Nov. 26. The Ducks were 15th in The Associated Press poll released Sunday. The Tar Heels were unranked.
North Carolina (9-4) has lost three consecutive games, including a 39- 10 loss to Clemson Saturday night in the ACC Football Championship Game
The game will be played at Petco Park under an amendment to a joint agreement with the San Diego Padres approved by the City Council in July 2021, overturning a previous ban on football at the downtown baseball stadium.
The Padres announced a partnership with the San Diego Bowl Game Association in 2021 allowing the Holiday Bowl to be played at Petco Park for a minimum of the next five years, dependent on City Council approval.
The sale of SDCCU Stadium — where the Holiday Bowl had been played since its inaugural edition in 1978 through 2019 — to San Diego State University in 2020, and its demolition to make way for a west campus and Snapdragon Stadium, left the bowl game without a home.