Duke will have to get by in the bowl without senior offensive tackle Perry Simmons, a two-time All-ACC selection and starter in 50 consecutive games. He will undergo surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee during Saturday night's game, ending his college career.
The Chick-fil-A picked a couple of teams that have never played in its game, the final season of a 22-year arrangement matching teams from the SEC and ACC. Next season, the game becomes a part of the six-bowl rotation for college football's new playoff system, and Atlanta also intends to bid for a future national championship game.
"As we move forward to the college football playoff, we needed to look nationwide at hosting teams like Texas A&M," Chick-fil-A Bowl President Gary Stokan said.
The Aggies were picked over local favorite Georgia, another 8-4 team from the SEC that settled for a spot in the Gator Bowl. Duke got the nod from the ACC over two more prominent programs, Virginia Tech and Miami, both of which the Blue Devils beat during the regular season..
"We look at the game as a reward for the players," Stokan said. "It's all built around the players playing themselves into our game or out of our game."
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