FORT WORTH, Texas – For the second straight year, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will be on a Saturday afternoon, officials announced today. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT (3:30 p.m. ET) on Dec. 22, and the matchup will be on ESPN.
The 16th edition of the postseason bowl game will be contested at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. Pending bowl eligibility, the game is slated to feature schools from the American Athletic Conference and Big 12 Conference.
“After a record viewership last year, we are very pleased to announce that our game will once again be played on a Saturday afternoon,” said Brant Ringler, executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. “In addition, the date provides easier fan travel as well as the perfect opportunity for all of Fort Worth to actively take part in our patriotic showcase that continues to honor more than 15,000 armed forces members and their families every year. I encourage all of our community to come be a part of this special day honoring our past and present members of the armed forces.”
Last year’s thriller saw the Army West Point Black Knights score 14 points in the final 18 seconds to upend the San Diego State Aztecs, 42-35. CBSSports.com rated the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl as the third-best bowl game for the second consecutive season. In 2016, Louisiana Tech defeated Navy, 48-45, on a field goal as time expired, meaning the game has featured final-second heroics each of the past two seasons.
Since 2014, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is the second-highest scoring bowl in the nation with 330 total points, behind only the Rose Bowl (343). Each of the eight teams to play over the last four years has scored at least 34 points in the Fort Worth bowl. In addition, the bowl has featured first-round NFL draft picks in two of the last three years with former California quarterback Jared Goff (No. 1-Los Angeles Rams) and San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny (No. 27-Seattle Seahawks).
The annual game, played in honor of the armed forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Military Academy football teams. The U.S. Military Academy (2010, 2017), the U.S. Air Force Academy (2007-2009, 2012, 2015) and the U.S. Naval Academy (2013, 2016) have all previously participated in the bowl.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest adventure areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; and the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance.
The 2018 edition is being contested on the earliest date in the event’s history. It previously was played six times on Dec. 23 (2003-06, 2016-17), and also has been held on Dec. 29 (2012, 2015), Dec. 30 (2010-11, 2013), Dec. 31 (2007-09) and Jan. 2 (2015).
The bowl game also created and operates the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America. For additional information about the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, please visit ArmedForcesBowl.com, Facebook.com/ArmedForcesBowl or Twitter.com/ArmedForcesBowl.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.