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Dec. 3, 2006

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The South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) have accepted a bid to play in the 48th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., it was announced today. The Gamecocks will face the Houston Cougars (10-3), champions of Conference USA. Game time is set for 4:30 Eastern (3:30 p.m. Central time) at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Friday, Dec. 29.

“We are very proud to invite South Carolina to play in the 48th AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic,” said Steve Ehrhart, Executive Director of the Liberty Bowl. “We congratulate Steve Spurrier and everyone in the South Carolina football family on a great season. We invite all Gamecock fans to Memphis to celebrate their winning season and enjoy Beale Street, Graceland and all the attractions that make Memphis unique.”

The bowl appearance will be Carolina’s second straight under head coach Steve Spurrier. Coach Spurrier becomes the first coach in school history to take his team to back-to-back bowl games in his first two seasons. The Gamecocks dropped a 38-31 decision to Missouri in the 2005 Independence Bowl.

This will be the Gamecocks second trip to the Liberty Bowl. Under head coach Joe Morrison, the Gamecocks participated in the 1988 Liberty Bowl, falling to Indiana by a 34-10 margin. The Gamecocks are 3-9 all-time in bowl games, with their wins coming in the 1995 Carquest Bowl against West Virginia and in the 2001 and 2002 Outback Bowls, both against Ohio State.

South Carolina and Houston have met twice previously on the gridiron, with the Cougars winning both contests. The Cougars posted a 27-19 win in Houston in 1973, then won by a 24-14 count in Columbia the following season.

The Liberty Bowl has a long and rich tradition of pageantry and the events surrounding the Bowl are considered the crown of the Memphis social scene.

The Gamecocks will be staying at the world famous Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis, near Beale Street, where the Blues were born. Bands from across the nation will march on Beale Street during the Liberty Bowl parade, which is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 28. Memphis is the birthplace of rock `n roll, and features Graceland, the home of “The King,” Elvis Presley.

One of music’s hottest young stars, two-time Grammy Award winner LeAnn Rimes will bring her unique style to this year’s Liberty Bowl Football Classic. Rimes will perform at the President’s Gala and headline the Liberty Bowl’s halftime show.

The Liberty Bowl also has a rich tradition on the field. Four Heisman Trophy winners have participated in the Liberty Bowl, including Syracuse’s Ernie Davis, Oregon State’s Terry Baker, Boston College’s Doug Flutie and Auburn’s Bo Jackson. Other greats who played in the game include Archie Manning, Lawrence Taylor and Kellen Winslow, while coaches such as Bear Bryant, Tom Osborne and Joe Paterno have patrolled the sidelines.

For ticket information contact the South Carolina athletics ticket office at 803-777-4274 or log on to For all bowl-related information, please check the official website of South Carolina Athletics,