Michigan State football is headed to Atlanta.
The Spartans received their second New Year’s Six bowl invitation since the College Football Playoff process began in 2014, and they will play Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl at 7 p.m. Dec. 30.
The game will be a matchup of Mel Tucker and No. 10 MSU (10-2) against former Spartans assistant Pat Narduzzi and his 12th-ranked Panthers (11-2), who won their first Atlantic Coast Conference title Saturday, 45-21, over Wake Forest.
Narduzzi was MSU’s defensive coordinator that last time it played in a New Year’s Six game, a 42-41 win over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 1, 2015.
This will be Tucker’s first bowl appearance with the Spartans after taking over for Narduzzi’s old boss Mark Dantonio in February 2020. They did not go to a bowl after going 2-5 in Tucker’s debut. MSU’s last bowl appearance was a 27-21 win over Wake Forest in the 2019 Pinstripe Bowl in New York.
The Spartans have never played in the Peach Bowl. They are 6-0-1 all-time against Pitt, their last meeting a 17-13 MSU win at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 15, 2007. The two programs have never played against each other in a bowl game.
It will be a battle between two of the top players in college football this year in Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III and Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett, both considered Heisman Trophy candidates.
MSU finished No. 10 in the final CFP rankings, while Pitt was No. 12. Committee chair Gary Barta said the Spartans were the lowest-ranked team to receive an at-large berth in the New Year’s Six, while the Panthers were guaranteed a spot by winning the ACC.