Air Force draws South Alabama in game with TV is­sues

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Brett Bigge­man

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.

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