Updated: December 1, 2009 at 12:00 am
An official announcement won’t come until Sunday, but Air Force appears headed to the Armed Forces Bowl for a third consecutive season.
A source with knowledge of the Mountain West Conference’s bowl game discussions indicated Tuesday that the Dec. 31 bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, almost certainly will be the Falcons’ landing spot.
The hold-up on the official announcement has to do with league champ TCU. The Horned Frogs seem to have a spot in a Bowl Championship Series bowl locked up – MWC commissioner Craig Thompson compared waiting to see if TCU would get a BCS bid to seeing if the sun would rise in the east. But until TCU’s inclusion in the BCS becomes official on Sunday, the MWC won’t “pull triggers on all the placements” of its other bowl-eligible teams, Thompson said.
Still, Thompson said he has “a very good idea” of where teams are headed.
“I think that’s why we had a call (Tuesday) with the bowl directors and the (athletic directors), so some preliminary preparations can be made,” he said.
If, as expected, TCU earns a bid to a BCS bowl, the Las Vegas and Poinsettia Bowls, which have first and second choice of available MWC teams, will select BYU and Utah in some order. The Armed Forces and New Mexico Bowls share the third pick. If Air Force for some reason does not go to the Armed Forces Bowl, it would go to the New Mexico Bowl.
Rembert first-team All-MWC
Seven Air Force players were named to the All-MWC first and second teams on Tuesday – the most the Falcons have had in 11 seasons in the league.
But only one of the players – junior cornerback Reggie Rembert – earned first-team honors.
Junior fullback Jared Tew, senior guards Nick Charles and Peter Lusk, sophomore kicker Erik Soderberg, senior nose guard Ben Garland and sophomore cornerback Anthony Wright Jr. all were on the second team. Senior inside linebacker John Falgout, senior punter Brandon Geyer, senior tackle Ryan Gonzales and senior strong safety Chris Thomas all received honorable mention honors.
TCU nearly swept the postseason awards, as Gary Patterson was named Coach of the Year, and quarterback Andy Dalton, defensive end Jerry Hughes and returner Jeremy Kerley were named the Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Year, respectively. Wyoming quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels was named the Freshman of the Year.
Thompson: MWC ‘not satisfied’
With TCU going 12-0, the MWC has an unbeaten team likely headed to a BCS bowl for the second straight season.
Last year Utah went 12-0 in the regular season, then went to the Sugar Bowl, where it upset Alabama.
But Thompson said his league is “not complacent.”
“We’re not fine with just getting to a BCS bowl,” he said. “Our goal is to play for a national championship.”
Unless Texas is upset by Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship this weekend, TCU will not play for the national title. Even if Texas loses, the Horned Frogs aren’t guaranteed a spot in the national championship game.
Thompson, who crusaded in the offseason for the MWC to become an automatic-qualifying BCS conference, noted Tuesday that TCU has won 26 of its last 28 games, Utah has won 30 of its last 34 and BYU has won 30 of its last 35.
“I think a point we’ve been trying to make for the last two or three years statistically is that we look more like an automatic-qualifying conference than not,” he said. “We’re performing on the field, and that has been our consistent message – that performance basis ought to count for something. We’re in the second year of a four-year cycle to determine automatic qualification, and we’ve got a lot of things to look forward to in the future.”