Happy Holidays and it is “bowl week” for the 10th annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.

The Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy will be the first school to arrive in the “City of Cowboys and Culture” as the Falcons gather in Fort Worth Monday (December 24) for a practice session at TCU’s indoor practice facility.

The Owls of Rice University arrive Tuesday (December 25) at their Sundance Square headquarters with the Houston-based school practicing for the first-time Wednesday at Burleson Centennial High School.

With the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl returning to Fort Worth after playing the last two games in Dallas, the annual post-season football contest will be played Saturday (December 29) at the 45,000-seat Amon G. Carter Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 10:45 a.m. (CST) for the game between Mountain West and Conference USA schools.  ESPN and ESPN Radio will broadcast the contest.

Rice will be making its first appearance in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl as the Owls will be playing in the post-season for the first-time since 2008.  Rice ended more than 50 years of post-season frustration with a near-perfect performance in the 2008 Texas Bowl at Houston in the Owl’s last bowl appearance.  Chase Clement threw three touchdown passes, ran for a score and caught a TD pass from Jarett Dillard to lead the Owls to a 38-14 win over Western Michigan at Reliant Stadium.  Just a 15-minute drive from their campus, the Owls won the post-season game for the first-time since capturing the 1954 Cotton Bowl.  Rice also achieved 10 victories in 2008 for the first time since 1949.

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will mark Air Force’s fourth appearance in the Fort Worth-based game.  The Falcons are 1-2 in the Bell post-season games.  Air Force has amassed 111 points and 1,340 total yards in the three Amon G. Carter Stadium games, including 957 rushing yards.  The Falcons posted a 47-20 win over Houston in the 2009 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to avenge a 34-28 setback to the Cougars a year earlier in Fort Worth.  In the highest scored Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl contest, Cal out-lasted Air Force 42-36 in the 2007 game.  All three games featuring the Falcons set bowl attendance records with 41,414 watching the 2009 Air Force win over Houston.

Prior to Saturday’s game, concerts and Armed Forces Adventure Area, the two schools will participate in bowl activities ranging from a Billy Bob’s “Welcome Party” Wednesday evening to a “Pep Rally” Friday night on Sundance Square at the Flying Saucer.  Thursday’s schedule features a visit to Cook’s Children’s Hospital visit followed by team dinners and comedy show “fun”.  Following a Friday morning press conference, the two schools will be featured at the noon-time Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Kickoff Luncheon at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

Joe Theismann, the College Football Hall of Famer from Notre Dame, will be the featured speaker at the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Kickoff Luncheon.  It is fitting that renowned broadcaster Doug Murray will introduce the former Washington Redskin quarterbacking great two days before Theismann’s former team hosts the Dallas Cowboys in the nation’s capital for the final regular-season game before the National Football League playoffs.
MEDIA HEADQUARTERS & CREDENTIALS - The Marriott Courtyard-Blackstone (601 Main St., Fort Worth 76102) is the official media hotel of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.  The Marriott Courtyard-Blackstone Media Headquarters will be “officially” opened on Tuesday (December 25) with the distribution of media credentials starting the next day.
Today - 69°/34°, Partly Cloudy
Monday - 58°/40°, Partly Cloudy
Tuesday - 47°/21°, Showers
Wednesday - 38°/23°, Mostly Cloudy
Thursday - 50°/39°, Cloudy
Friday - 55°/29°, Few Showers
Saturday - 53°F33°, Sunny

1 - Saturday’s game will be the first post-season game in the rebuilt Amon G. Carter Stadium where more than $164-million was used renovating the facility that housed the first seven Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls.
2 - Air Force ranks second in the country in rushing as the Falcons are averaging 328.8 yards per game as compared to national leader Army with 369.8 yards per game.  Air Force has averaged 319 yards rushing in its previous three Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl appearances.
3 - Three of Rice’s six defeats this season were by four points, including a 54-51 double overtime setback to Marshall and a 28-24 loss to eventual C-USA champion and 10-3 overall Tulsa.  Rice led Tulsa four different times before falling.  Three of the Air Force defeats were by a touchdown or less, including a 28-21 overtime setback at home to Navy.
4 - Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and David Bailiff of Rice are two of four coaches remaining from the FBS Coaching-hire Class of 2007.  The others are Nick Saban of Alabama and Mark Dantonio of Michigan State.
5 - Rice will be seeking their fifth-straight win against Air Force as the Owls closed out the regular-season by elimination football to gain bowl-eligibility with wins over Southern Miss, Tulane, SMU and UTEP.  In the last 50 seasons, Rice has won four or more games in a row nine times.
6 - Air Force will be playing in its sixth-straight bowl game under Coach Troy Calhoun
7 - The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will mark the seventh time the two schools have met in football with Air Force leading 5-1.
8 - Number of touchdown passes in the first half of games this season by Air Force and the number of scoring completions for Rice this year in the second quarter alone.
9 - Rice kicker Chris Boswell is tied for ninth nationally in field goals per game.  Boswell has made 21 of 26 field goal attempts this year to set Owl single-season and career made marks.  His next field goal success field goal success will be his 50th.
10 - The 10th annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl also marks the 10th post-season appearance for Rice.  The Owls are 5-4 in bowl games, including a 3-1 record in Cotton Bowl appearances.
11 - Touchdowns scored by the Air Force in the first and quarter of games this season.  Rice has also scored 11 touchdowns in the fourth quarter of games this season.
13 - With Scott Thomas of Air Force and Tommy Kramer of Rice being selected this year to the College Football Hall of Fame, the two schools have combined for 13 members in the elite group.
15 - The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be the 15th bowl game of the 2012-2013 post-season and the first of five to be played on Saturday followed by contests in San Francisco, the Bronx, San Antonio and Tempe.
23 - Air Force enters the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with a 10-11-1 record in post-season games, including a 2-3 mark under Coach Troy Calhoun.
47 - Number of consecutive games that Air Force has scored at least one rushing touchdown.  It’s the longest active streak in this category among FBS schools.