Got off the phone a few minutes ago with a Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl official, and things are a little hazy for the awaited matchup on New Year's Eve morning (11 a.m.) at Amon Carter Stadium.
League championship games, BCS and other matters always hold up lesser bowls getting a jump on their ticket sales, and the Armed Forces Bowl is no exception. As far as figuring out the bowl's invitees (Mountain West vs. C-USA), several factors are intersecting.
In the MWC, Utah is headed to a BCS bowl, leaving TCU and BYU in duke-out mode for the Las Vegas Bowl. The latter wants BYU, its driving-distance location and eager ticket-buying fanbase and will likely get them. TCU, it appears, is holding out hope of meeting Boise State in a bowl game if the latter doesn't join Utah in the BCS lineup. One scenario, though seemingly remote, has TCU staying home to play in the AFB, but only by its own choice.
Air Force, by where it finished in the MWC, is a candidate to return to Fort Worth after helping draw more than 40,000 fans last year. A little odd, given the Falcons were at TCU on Nov. 22 getting their hides tanned by the home team.
Who would play them gets into more sticky syrup. C-USA will send either Tulsa or East Carolina to the Liberty Bowl after that league's title game this weekend. The loser appears headed to the GMAC Bowl.
From C-USA, that leaves Rice (9-3) or Houston (7-5) as most likely to fill that AFB spot. Remember, Air Force and Houston already played this season in a game moved to Texas Stadium because of Hurricane Ike. Would they sign off on a rematch?
The Texas Bowl, held at Reliant Stadium, appears to have its eye on Rice after it beat rival Houston last week for the annual Bayou Bucket. Also, Houston played TCU in the Texas Bowl last year. A Rice-Air Force matchup might have some teeth, but the Armed Forces and Texas Bowls might have to work something out. No predictions here.