Air Force has one fewer option this year if it makes a bowl game for the fifth straight season.
The Mountain West vacated its spot in the Armed Forces Bowl, a game Air Force appeared in three straight years before going to the Independence Bowl last season. BYU announced Wednesday that it had reached an agreement to play in the Armed Forces Bowl this season against a Conference USA opponent. Coincidentally, BYU’s move to football independence is a reason the Mountain West won’t be in that game.
According to MWC spokesman Javan Hedlund, after conference realignment the NCAA Postseason Football Licensing Subcommittee adjusted its number of historical bowl-eligible teams for each conference. The Mountain West, which will have only eight teams in 2011 after losing BYU and Utah, has a historical average of four teams in its current configuration. The Mountain West had agreements with the Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Armed Forces, Independence and New Mexico bowls last year. According to Hedlund, it was determined in consultation with ESPN Regional, which owns and operates the Armed Forces Bowl, that the Mountain West would vacate its spot in that bowl this season.
The Mountain West should be back to five bowl slots next season. Hedlund said the Mountain West, which adds Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii for 2012, will be back to a historical average of five teams next year. He said the conference’s bowl configuration is under review by the conference’s athletic directors.
Air Force has a strong connection with the Armed Forces Bowl. The Falcons played in the game in 2007, 2008 and 2009. They share the record for most Armed Forces Bowl appearances with Houston.