UPDATE: A Military Bowl representative tells SB Nation D.C. that Air Force was not selected as the de-facto service academy.
The 2011 Military Bowl will feature an unlikely matchup when Air Force takes on MAC at-large Toledo on December 28 at RFK Stadium. It's not quite the intriguing matchup the game got last season, when local team Maryland was able to get into the game, but it's certainly an interesting game. However, it's a far cry from the game the bowl could have gotten.
The game was supposed to pit a team from the ACC against one of the service academies. Ideally, that's either Navy or Army, since Air Force has a conference affiliation with the Mountain West that would usually determine their bowl destination. The problem is that Army was once again not eligible for a bowl, and Navy had a much worse season than expected and also couldn't become bowl-eligible. That meant the game changed to one between an ACC club and an at-large team.
But then another problem resulted. It looked like North Carolina would be all set to be the ACC's representative, due to their 3-5 record in conference and the other bowls scooping up the other ACC squads. That was before the Sugar Bowl made a surprising decision to invite Virginia Tech to square off against Michigan. That bumped each ACC team up a slot, and the Independence Bowl took North Carolina.
So with both those contingencies to deal with, the Military Bowl ended up going to the Air Force vs. Toledo matchup. Air Force fills the role of the service academy thanks to a stronger-than-expected year for the Mountain West, while Toledo is an at-large that goes to D.C. instead of the Little Ceasers Bowl in Detroit. It may not be the matchup the Military Bowl expected to get at the beginning of the season, but it'll do.
Game date, time: 4:30 p.m. Eastern, December 28.
Location: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.
TV channel: ESPN/EPSN3
2010 winner and loser: Maryland, East Carolina
For more on the 2011 Military Bowl, visit this StoryStream. For more on each bowl game as it’s announced, stay tuned to SB Nation’s 2011 college football bowl game bids coverage. And visit our many college football blogs.