Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl announces Dec. 30 kickoff

FORT WORTH, TEXAS, April 26, 2010 – The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is set to kick off the eighth edition of the postseason college football bowl game Thursday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. CST. 

This marks the first time in the bowl’s history that the game will be played on Dec. 30, as the game has been played on Dec. 31 for the previous three years. Before joining the New Year’s Eve schedule in 2007, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl was played before Christmas, on Dec. 23.

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be nationally televised live on ESPN. This year’s matchup is slated to feature schools from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference.

“We are pleased to be kicking off on Dec. 30,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “We look forward to delivering a great bowl week so that everyone involved enjoys their experience, and we have some exciting things in store this year to make our game ‘More Than a Bowl Game’.”

This season would mark the seventh appearance for one of C-USA’s 12 institutions in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The conference has a 2-4 bowl record at Amon G. Carter Stadium, including Cincinnati’s 2004 win over Marshall and Houston’s win over Air Force in 2008. The nine-school MWC is 2-2, as Utah beat Tulsa in the conference’s first appearance in 2006 and Air Force defeated Houston in 2009. Other conferences that have played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl comprise the Pac-10, Big 12, Mid-American and Western Athletic conferences.

In the event that either C-USA or the MWC completes the regular season with an open spot amongst its contractual bowl commitments, the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will feature the United States Military Academy per a recent agreement between the bowl and the Academy. Should the open spot materialize for either conference, the Black Knights must have six wins before their annual game with Navy in order to be bowl eligible.

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured a military theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military are prevalent throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing military hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military’s top skydiving teams; on-field induction ceremonies; military bands and honor guards; and the awarding of the annual “Great American Patriot Award” (GAPA) presented by Armed Forces Insurance. In 2009, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, accepted the GAPA at half-time on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces. Previous recipients include General David H. Patraeus, Preston “Pete” Geren and Gordon England.

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, joined the bowl on August 23, 2006, as the title sponsor of the postseason college football game formerly known as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl (2003, 2004) and the Fort Worth Bowl (2005).  2006 marked the first year for the adoption of the “Armed Forces Bowl” name, making the official title the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Bell Helicopter has twice exercised its option for title sponsorship of the game. The current agreement was signed in September 2009 to continue the sponsorship for the 2010 and 2011 games with a two-year option for 2012 and 2013.

Ticket information for the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be released later this month and can be obtained by calling the bowl office at 817/810-0012. Military veterans receive discounted tickets and active-duty personnel receive free admittance via the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl corporate military ticket underwriting program.