Military Bowl targeting options for RFK game

Military Bowl targeting options for RFK game
November 5, 2011, 8:53 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comLess than one month before finalizing its 2011 matchup, potential scenarios for the Washington D.C. based Military Bowlremain numerous. Saturday'sresult at Byrd Stadium helped crystalize the situation ever so slightlyas Virginias football program officially became an option, formally squashing Marylands hopes in the process. Military Bowl President Steve Beck witnessed the Cavaliers becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2007 with a 31-13 win over Randy Edsalls Terrapins. Virginia (6-3, 3-2 ACC) has wonfour of its last five games under second-year Coach Mike London.Saturdays loss to the Cavaliers eliminated the Terrapins (2-7, 1-5), losers of five straight and seven of eight, from bowl game consideration for the second time in three seasons. Maryland defeated East Carolina 51-20 in the 2010 Military Bowl, which turned out to be the final game for Coach Ralph Friedgen. The 2011 Military Bowl, presented by Northrop Grumman, will return to RFK Stadium for a fourth consecutive year. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 est on December 28.Entering the season, the Military Bowls projected matchup pitted a bowl eligible team from the ACC versus Navy, a participant in the inaugural 2008 game. The second half of that equation is in jeopardy; starting with Saturdays home date against Troy, Navy must win its final four games of the season to become bowl eligible. Whether Navys status becomes immediately obvious with a loss or remains unclear for several weeks, specifics will be limited before the official matchups are determined on December 4.Id like to know now. I was hoping Navy would have been able to tell me now, said Beck, who was headed to Annapolis after attending his second game at College Park this season.Each participating team will receive approximately 1 million dollars, Beck confirmed. Proceeds from the Military Bowl benefit military personnel and their families through the USO. Last year the game brought in approximately 18 million dollars into the local economy, according to information provided by bowl officials."The game is really all about the USO and having an economic impact on the city of Washington," Beck said.As for the potential matchup scenariosACC: Including the BCS selection, the Military Bowl has the eighth pick among potential bowl games with tie-ins to the ACC. That does not mean teams finishing higher than eighth in the standings will be unavailable for selection; last season Marylands 9-4 record tied for third best among ACC programs.Virginia became the fifth bowl-eligible ACC team, joining Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Only the highly ranked Tigers and Hokies, perhaps the Yellow Jackets are out of the Military Bowls grasp in Beck's estimation. Of the teams yet to pick up the desired six FBS wins, Beck sited Wake Forest, NC State along with Miami as potential targets. Before Marylands loss, Boston College was the only team among the ACCs 12 schools officially eliminated from bowl consideration.Virginias last appearance in a bowl game was on New Year's Day 2008 in the Gator Bowl against Texas Tech. Soon the Cavaliers, who racked up 527 yards of total offense against the Terps,will seek their first bowl game victory since knocking off Minnesota in the 2005 Music City Bowl."It's a great feeling," senior safety Rodney McLeod said about locking up a postseason appearance. "Coach London tried to shy away from it, but as players you know that six wins gets you bowl eligible. We came out here and we executed and now we're bowl eligible."Beck, who attended Virginias October 22 home game against NC State, would welcome giving the Cavaliers a shot at a postseason win. Proximity of Virginia's Charlottesville location, combined with a large D.C. area alumni base makes the Cavaliers an obvious fit for the Washington, D.C. based bowl game. They would be great, we would love to have Virginia, Beck said prior to kickoff on Saturday. A little over two hours away, and up-and-coming program with a new coach. Mike London is a great guy.Navy: Beyond defeating Troy, Coach Ken Niumatalolos squad will have to survive road games at SMU (5-3) and San Jose State (3-5) plus the December 10 season finale against Army (3-5) at FedEx Field.Beck noted that should both service academies require one final win for postseason eligibility, this years Army-Navy stakes could include a Military Bowl nod. At-large: Considering Navys daunting path, the possibilities for the non-ACC team run deep, though Beck has dealt with this scenario in the past. Navy faced ACC program Wake Forest in the inaugural game, but the subsequent two games have included teams from the Pac-10 (UCLA), Conference-USA (East Carolina) and the Mid-American (Temple) conferences. Beck said no specific backup plans are in place and the current college football landscape could have a school from a different BCS conference heading to the District.Its really early to tell, but it looks like the Big 10 could have an extra team, looks like the Big East could have an extra team, Beck said. Conference-USA could be in play, but only if the conference were to have an unprecedented seven eligible teams, Beck noted.