Air Force draws South Alabama in game with TV issues
Air Force (9-3) will face South Alabama (6-6) in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 30, a matchup many experts predicted after San Diego State’s victory in the Mountain West championship game Saturday night.
Those around the Falcons program wanted to avoid the Arizona Bowl for several reasons, but the primary complaint was the television situations. While most bowls are owned by ESPN and broadcast on its family of networks, Campus Insiders owns the Arizona Bowl. Campus Insiders is known for its online streaming of many live collegiate sporting events, but no team wants a bowl that is not televised.
As it turns out, the game in Tucson is televised as part of the American Sports Network. In Colorado Springs and Pueblo, the game will be televised on Altitude. In Denver, it will be on KWGN-Channel 2. In total, it will be on networks that reach 88 million households.
This is the second year of the Arizona Bowl. Last year the Mountain West was left with two of its teams playing in the game, as Nevada defeated Colorado State 2823.
The game has an undetermined payout, but that is essentially a nonfactor because of the Mountain West’s revenue-sharing system that puts all bowl money into a pot and then evenly distributes it.
The Falcons are annually among the nation’s top rushing teams, and this season was no different. Air Force was fourth nationally with 322.8 yards rushing per game and was led by Tim McVey, who rushed for 10 touchdowns and an average of 8.3 yards per carry.
The Jaguars opened the season with a win over Mississippi State in Starkville and knocked off Mountain West champion San Diego State. They are led by quarterback Dallas Davis, who threw for 2,461 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Jaguars were supposed to play LSU in November, but that game was canceled when the Tigers needed to play a rescheduled game against Florida. South Alabama instead played Presbyterian and won, so that switch may well have been the difference between reaching a bowl and missing the postseason.