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Bowl game shuffle: After long day of waiting, Duke football headed to Birmingham Bowl

Head coach Mike Elko is gone to Texas A&M, but the Duke Blue Devils program he left behind has one more game to play this season.

The Blue Devils play in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 23 at noon, the ACC announced on Sunday. The opponent will be Sun Belt Conference champion Troy (11-2) and ABC will televise.

It was a wild bowl selection Sunday for ACC teams as the bowl partners scrambled to secure the best matchups. Earlier reports Sunday had Duke heading to Tampa’s Gasparilla Bowl but that proved to be false.

Duke (7-5) is bowl eligible for the second year in a row after missing college football’s postseason the previous three years. Elko led Duke to a 16-7 record over his two seasons as head coach before leaving for Texas A&M on Nov. 27.

Duke athletics director Nina King named longtime assistant Trooper Taylor as the program’s interim head coach while the search for a full-time replacement moves forward.

The Blue Devils have won four consecutive bowl games, dating back to a 44-41 overtime win over Indiana in the 2015 Pinstripe Bowl in New York. Since then, Duke has won the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, the 2018 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, and last year’s Military Bowl.

Prior to this current streak, Duke hadn’t won a bowl game since beating Arkansas in the 1961 Cotton Bowl.

Troy beat Appalachian State, 49-23, in the Sun Belt championship game. The Trojans have won 10 consecutive games since suffering back-to-back losses to Kansas State, 42-13, and James Madison, 16-14, in September.