CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- When Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall and South Carolina Coach Will Muschamp met on Thursday at Bank of America Stadium both were equally impressed with what they had seen on film.
"Got a lot of respect for Coach Mendenhall, really respected him from afar," Muschamp said, "As you turn the tape on his guys play tough an physical and that's the biggest compliment you could give a coach in how our guys play on tape."
Mendenhall found a lot in common between the two programs, mainly the close losses both endured this season.
"The two programs have had similar seasons," Mendenhall said, "So many close games and one or two more could have gone our way and I think could have gone their way."
One thing that stuck out to Muschamp when watching film was the play of Dudley Award winner Bryce Perkins.
"Bryce Perkins is a guy that creates a lot of what I call off-rhythm plays, some issues in the run game," Muschamp said, "They've got some unique things they do in the run game, Jordan Ellis is an outstanding back, they've got a really good skill set of players."
This matchup will be Bronco's first against an SEC opponent at UVA after going 1-1 against the conference while at BYU.
"We know about the SEC brand, I think all of us do in college football and so many time what bowl games do is it gives a chance for comparison," Mendenhall said, "Not only are you basically playing against a football program and a team, but you get a glimpse of what a style of play or what another conference might be."
Both schools head into the game with a chance to make up for some of those close games and pick up an eighth win.
"I think you'll find two hungry football teams that think this game is meaningful," Mendenhall said, "Important and impactful and for both teams eight looks a lot better than seven."