Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Notes: Week 10

CLASH OF THE TITANS

Florida Atlantic will host Marshall in the Conference USA “game of the weekend” on Friday. Florida Atlantic is the lone unbeaten in league play (4-0), while Marshall sits 3-1. At 6-2 overall, Marshall is the first bowl-eligible team in C-USA. However, seven teams are just one win away (Florida Atlantic, FIU, North Texas, Southern Miss, UAB, UTSA and WKU), and all are in action this weekend.

 

NOT BEGINNER’S LUCK

C-USA’s three head coaches who are in their first years at their respective schools are all just one win away from bowl eligibility. Butch Davis (FIU, 5-2), Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic, 5-3) and Mike Sanford (WKU, 5-3) have their teams a combined 15-8 (.652) overall and 10-3 (.769) in C-USA action.

 

WE’VE SEEN THEM AROUND THESE PARTS

Eleven of the previous 14 Armed Forces Bowl games have featured a C-USA representative, beginning with hometown TCU in the inaugural game (2003). The others include: Cincinnati (2004), Houston (2005), Tulsa (2006), Houston (2008), Houston (2009), SMU (2010), Tulsa (2011), Rice (2012), Middle Tennessee (2013) and Louisiana Tech (2016). C-USA’s 11 appearances are nearly double any other league. The Mountain West is next with six.

 

CHIEF RIVAL

Army West Point (6-2) will face Air Force (4-4) on Saturday in an annual battle to help determine who will hoist the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy this year. Army last won the coveted trophy, which is determined by head-to-head meetings between the three service academies (Army, Air Force and Navy), in 1996.

 

DON’T WORRY, THEY’VE GOT IT COVERED

The Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Doug Smock previews Friday night’s huge game between Marshall and Florida Atlantic that can sway the top of the standings in the East in a major way. Read

 

Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle says that North Texas is looking to emulate the sustained success of this week’s opponent, Louisiana Tech. LA Tech is one of just four schools in the nation that has won at least nine games and a bowl in each of the past three seasons. Read

 

Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel highlights the fact that after falling short in numerous close games over the past two seasons, FAU has been able to close tight games this year with strong second-half performances. Read

 

The Bowling Green Daily News’ Brad Stephens profiles former walk-on Ta’Corian Darden, who is playing a major role on WKU’s defense. Read

 

LOOKING BACK

Each week, the bowl is celebrating its 15th anniversary by taking a trip down memory lane with the “Top 15 Moments” from its previous games. Here’s No. 6 from 2012 when Rice’s Driphus Jackson found Jordan Taylor in the end zone three times in a 33-14 Owl win over Air Force. Watch

 

PROJECTING THE PARTICIPANTS

With Army already committed, it’s time to focus the predictions on who will be playing the Black Knights on Dec. 23 in Amon G. Carter Stadium. This week, UTSA was the heavy favorite, receiving nods from four of the seven experts after having just two last week. Other schools receiving votes were FIU, Marshall and Middle Tennessee.

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura) - FIU

College Football News (Pete Fiutak) - Middle Tennessee

ESPN (David M. Hale) - Marshall

The Score (Brett McMurphy) - UTSA

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm) - UTSA

CNNSI (Eric Single) - UTSA

USA Today (Erick Smith) - UTSA