Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl partners with Mountain West through 2013

The 10th anniversary Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is slated to feature a “familiar” match-up as a team from the Mountain West Conference will meet a Conference USA institution for the 2012 postseason football game.

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will kick off Saturday, Dec. 29 at TCU’s newly-renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with a 10:45 a.m. (CT) kickoff. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl’s agreement with the Mountain West is for two years with the 2013 edition featuring a MW team against the United States Naval Academy, provided the Midshipmen are bowl-eligible. Navy has also agreed to play in the 2016 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with the United States Military Academy signing a contract to participate in the Fort Worth postseason game in 2014 and 2017, if bowl-eligible.

“We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to host a MW institution as one of our bowl participants in 2012,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.  “Our game has featured the Mountain West vs. Conference USA match-up three times, with the last two meetings in 2008 and 2009 attracting national attention as Air Force played Houston. The Falcons and Cougars split the two-game set with crowds of more than 40,000 for each contest.”

Two teams in the current Mountain West lineup have previously competed in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, as Boise State participated in the inaugural 2003 edition, known then as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl, defeating TCU 34-31; and the Air Force Falcons in 2007 versus Cal and in 2008 and 2009 against Houston. Other MW institutions for the 2012 season are Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawai'i, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming.

“The Mountain West is excited to renew its relationship with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Our institutions have been a part of the fabric of the game’s history and it’s only fitting that a Mountain West representative will participate in the 10th anniversary of the bowl this December. The date and location are very attractive for our teams, the experiences of past participants have been very positive and we look forward to visiting newly-renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium.”

Four current members of Conference USA have played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, including Marshall (2004), Houston (2005, 2008 and 2009), SMU (2010) and Tulsa (2006 and 2011).  Other C-USA schools for the 2012 season are East Carolina, Memphis, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB, UCF and UTEP.