Entering 2011, the Navy Midshipmen had made nine straight bowl games, and they had their typically soft schedule lined up, so the officials in charge of the Military Bowl thought it'd be a safe bet to just reserve a spot for the Mids in their bowl game. It seemed like a safe bet, until the Air Force Falcons upset Navy in Annapolis, Md., in October, sending the Midshipmen into a losing spiral from which they wouldn't recover until it was too late.
To hear the Washington Post's Gene Wang tell it, Military Bowl officials were scrambling to find a solution. Enter Air Force:
...bowl officials had to scramble to find a replacement once Navy was ensured a losing season on Nov. 19 following a 27-24 loss to San Jose State. At the time, Air Force needed to win one more game to become bowl eligible, and fortunately for Military Bowl officials, the Falcons had little trouble dispatching Colorado State a week later, 45-21.
Air Force (7-5), which faces the Toledo Rockets on Wednesday, is the lone service academy playing in a bowl game after all three qualified together for the first time last year.
Last year, the Maryland Terrapins faced the East Carolina PIrates in the Military Bowl, so it's not as if this is a longstanding tradition. It is, however, nice that there's some actual Military playing in the game.
For updates on this game, follow MAC blog Hustle Belt.