Air Force was one of the first teams to accept a bowl bid, as the school was locked into the military-themed Armed Forces Bowl as soon as it became bowl eligible on Nov. 16. As reported by Mountain West blog MWC Connection, the Falcons are excited to be involved with the game. "We are very honored to take part in the 10th anniversary of such a prestigious, well-run bowl game," Air Force athletic director Hans Meuh said.
The Falcons, running a variety of the triple option, ranked second nationally in rushing offense at 329 yards per game. That attack has been led by senior running back Cody Getz, who has racked up 1,213 rushing yards on the year. The game marks the sixth straight bowl appearance for the Academy.
Rice travels from Houston to Fort Worth as one of the hottest teams in the country. After starting 1-5, the Owls have won five of their last six to rally to bowl eligibility. Rice is appearing in its first bowl game since 2008, and it's only the school's third bowl bid in the last 50 years. While not as ground-dominant as Air Force, Rice's Charles Ross and quarterback Taylor McHargue have combined for 1,371 rushing yards for the country's 29th-best run game.
Air Force leads the all-time series between the schools, 5-1.