Air Force continues Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl tradition

The United States Air Force Academy has accepted a bid to play in the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Since adopting the “armed forces” theme in 2006, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will feature a service academy team for the fifth time as the Falcons are slated to play a team from Conference USA in the postseason bowl game on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We are thrilled to have the Air Force Academy as the Mountain West Conference’s representative for our 10th anniversary game,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “What better way to honor our armed forces than with a service academy competing in our game. With the Falcons and military fans numerous at the 2007, 2008 and 2009 games, we established record attendance figures each time.”

The 10th anniversary Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will kick off at 10:45 a.m. (CT) as the game returns to the Fort Worth facility after playing the past two years at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, while the 45,000-seat Amon G. Carter Stadium was undergoing a $164-million renovation. The game will be aired on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

The 2007, 2008 and 2009 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls featured the Falcons. Air Force split a pair of games with the University of Houston from Conference USA in 2008 and 2009 after facing Cal of the then-Pac-10 Conference in their initial Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl appearance in 2007.

“This is a great opportunity for the Air Force Academy and we’re very excited to be going back to Fort Worth for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said Air Force director of athletics, Dr. Hans Mueh. “We are very honored to take part in the 10th anniversary of such a prestigious, well-run bowl game.”

Air Force will be playing in the NCAA postseason for the sixth-straight year under Coach Troy Calhoun.  The Colorado-based institution south of Denver will be looking to even their bowl record at 11-11. The Falcons‘ first bowl appearance resulted in a 0-0 tie with TCU at the 1958 Cotton Bowl. Four of Calhoun’s previous five Air Force bowl appearances have been decided by a touchdown or less.  

The current string of bowl appearances started in 2007 with a 42-36 loss to Cal in the Falcons’ first of three-straight Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl appearances. After dropping a 34-28 decision to Houston in the 2008 Amon G. Carter Stadium postseason game, Air Force rebounded the next December by upsetting the Cougars 47-20. Air Force defeated Georgia Tech 14-7 in the 2010 Independence Bowl followed by a 42-41 setback to Toledo last December. 

Replacing 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Fisher DeBerry, after the 2006 season, Calhoun has led the Air Force resurgence where the Falcons have posted a 47-29 record in five-plus seasons. Calhoun has built upon DeBerry’s legacy of developing one of the nation’s top rushing attacks annually.  Entering Friday’s game against Hawaii at home, the 2012 Falcons were ranked second nationally in rushing with 335.3 yards per game. Senior running back Cody Getz is ranked 18th nationally in rushing with 1,006 yards with a healthy 6.7 yards per carry average each game.

Despite losing starting center Michael Husar, Jr., in the season opener and having just two returning starters on the offensive line, Air Force went the first nine games of the season without allowing a sack. The last team in the nation to allow a sack (first sack in Game No. 10), the Falcons lead the nation in allowing only three sacks this season.

Tickets for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl are on sale now. With prices starting as low as $20 a ticket and ranging up to $150 for a Bud Light Platinum Club seat, tickets can be selected and purchased through the bowl’s website at Armed forces veterans and active duty personnel can also request complimentary tickets through the bowl’s website, or by calling the bowl office at 817-810-0012. Complimentary armed forces tickets are available via the bowl’s corporate military ticket underwriting program while supplies last.