Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Adds BYU

Fort Worth, Texas, April 27, 2011 - The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl continues to develop its national presence as the 2011 postseason collegiate football game will have Brigham Young University as a possible opponent for a Conference USA school if the Cougars are bowl eligible after completing their first season playing an independent schedule.

The ninth annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will return to Dallas for the second-straight year as the 2011 nationally-televised postseason college football bowl game on ESPN will be played Friday, Dec. 30, at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium with an 11 a.m. CST kickoff.

“We are extremely pleased to have an opportunity to host BYU as one of our bowl participants in 2011,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.  “Our goal is to attract schools with a national presence to help us honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.  BYU is a nationally-recognized institution with an outstanding fan base.”

The Utah-based school could be playing in its second Texas bowl game after the Cougars won the 1997 Cotton Bowl by defeating Kansas State 19-15 to finish with a No. 5 national ranking.  In 2011 BYU plays an independent schedule that features two games in the “Lone Star” state against Texas (Sept. 10 in Austin) and TCU (Oct. 28 in Arlington).

“We are pleased to announce the relationship with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe.  “When we announced our football program was going independent, we recognized it would be a challenge given the timing to secure a bowl affiliation for 2011.  As an institution, we have a lot respect for the service academies and the individuals who protect our country.  We are privileged to participate in a game that honors the men and women of our armed forces.”

In addition to the two Texas schools on the 2011 schedule, BYU will also play road games at Ole Miss (Sept. 3), Oregon State (Oct. 15) and Hawai’i (Dec. 3).  The Cougars home schedule features Utah (Sept. 17), UCF (Sept. 23), Utah State (Sept. 30), San Jose State (Oct. 8), Idaho State (Oct. 22), Idaho (Nov. 12) and New Mexico State (Nov. 19).

One of college football’s top programs with over 500 wins (511-380-26, 57.1%), 29 bowl appearances (11-17-1 record) and 23 conference championships (MWC titles in 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2007), BYU posted a 7-6 record in 2010 and defeated UTEP of Conference USA 52-24 in the New Mexico Bowl this past December in Albuquerque.  The Cougars are coached by Bronco Mendenhall, who has led BYU to a 56-21 record with four bowl victories in six games.

Led by 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer of San Antonio, BYU boasts 11 consensus and 31 Academic All-Americans.  BYU, which was crowned the 1984 national champions after perfect 13-0 season, has also had seven Sammy Baugh, three Davey O’Brien, two Outland and one Doak Walker Trophy winners.

Legendary LaVell Edwards (2004), a two-time national coach of the year honoree, headlines BYU College Football Hall of Fame inductees.  Other Cougars in the hall are quarterbacks Gifford Nielsen (1994), Marc Wilson (1996), Jim McMahon (1998), Steve Young (2005) and Gordon Hudson (2009).

Featuring a military theme since 2006, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl features 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.

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.

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), ticket information for the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be released later this spring 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.  Additional information on all bowl activities can be obtained at http://armedforcesbowl.com/.