SMU will host Army for the 2010 edition of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The game was moved to SMU's home field due to improvements currently underway at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth where the game has traditionally been played.
The Armed Forces Bowl is the official bowl game that honors all branches of the United States armed forces.
SMU will be competing in the NCAA postseason for the second-straight year after posting a 45-10 win over Nevada at the 2009 Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl to improve their bowl record to 5-6-1. Last season's bowl appearance was the first for the Mustangs since 1984.
SMU is 7-6 record after dropping a 17-7 decision to 25th-ranked UCF in the Conference USA championship game in Orlando. SMU captured the C-USA West Division with a 6-2 record as seven of the Mustangs’ opponents this season earned bowl bids.
Still, the season was a bit of a disappointment for June Jones' troops. The preseason projections from CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings (a.k.a. CCR Top 120) were for SMU to go 9-3 overall, 8-0 in the conference, and defeat UCF for the CUSA title.
Army enters the game at 6-6 after losing for the 9th straight time to arch rival Navy in the final regular season game. The computer forecasted Army to go 5-7.
SMU faced Navy earlier this season with the Midshipmen posting a 28-21 win over the Mustangs in Annapolis and scoring all their points in the second half after trailing 14-0 at half-time.
With the Black Knights bowl-eligible for the first-time since 1996, all three service academies will be playing in the postseason this season with Navy and Air Force competing in the Poinsettia (December 23) and Independence (December 27) Bowls, respectively.
Army relies heavily on the running game, ranking 10th nationally in that department with an average of 256 yards per game. The Black Knights attempted the fewest passes of any of the 120 FBS teams with 131 and had the second-fewest completions with 70.
Sophomore RB Jared Hassin leads Army's ground troops with 931 yards and 9 TD's. QB Trent Steelman, also a sophomore, has ran for 694 yards and 11 scores.
SMU has a typical Jones offense that leans toward the pass. The Mustangs rank 15th nationally through the air with 282 yards per game. They rank 77th on the ground with 140.92 per game.
The teams are close in scoring average and scoring defense. Army has defeated its opponents by an average of 27.5-25.2, while SMU holds a slight 26.6-26.4 advantage over its opponents
SMU sophomore running back Zach Line ranks 12th nationally with 1,391 yards and has scored 10 touchdowns. Mustang sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron has passed for 271.2 yards a game to rank 16th in the FBS. His 29 touchdown strikes rank 9th. SMU senior Aldrick Robinson is 11th nationally with 94.2 receiving yards per game and he has accounted for nearly half of Padron's TD passes with 13 scoring hauls.
In addition to playing in their home stadium, SMU will be the home team as the Conference USA representative where teams of that league have won two of their previous six appearances. Army will be the visiting team as the Black Knights enter this year’s Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with a 2-2 bowl record.
The fact that Army leads the series with SMU 2-0 is insignificant as they haven't met since 1967.
Of greater significance is the fact that SMU is 9-3 at home over the past two seasons.
The computer likes SMU by 6.93 points in this game and has assigned 24 confidence points to the pick.