Your Unofficial Holiday Bowl Warmup: Military Bowl Open Thread

Toledo posted an 8-win season and lost only once in the MAC this year. The Rockets try to cap off their season with a Military Bowl win over Air Foce.

Gameday. Is. Here.

The long wait is almost over, as Cal and Texas finally play tonight in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl we've all been waiting for. But these last few hours of waiting are probably the longest. So if you're inclined to kill time, what better way to do it than by watching the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, being played in our nation's capital?

The Military Bowl matchup features the Toledo Rockets from the MAC and the Air Force Academy Falcons from the MWC. We as Cal fans must be able to relate to what Toledo is going through in this bowl game. Just a few years back, Cal played in the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, also against the Air Force. I don't know about you, but I felt like we had everything going against us Juju-wise: a military-themed bowl game in which we played against one of the service academies. No way we could win that, right? Except for the Cal fans, no one was rooting for us -- what casual fan is going to root against the Air Force? Even if we win the game (which we did!), we lose: look what we did to America and its future officers!

So Toledo Rockets: we know what you're going through.

This is your open thread for today's Military Bowl. Consider it a warmup for your Holiday Bowl viewing later.

Military Bowl -- Presented by Northrop Grumman, 4:30 pm ET, ESPN

Toledo Rockets (8-4 overall, 7-1 MAC) vs. Air Force Falcons (7-5 overall, 3-4 MWC)

One of the obvious story lines of this game is how Toledo will fare under coach Matt Campbell, who is coaching his first game as the Rockets' new head coach:

Just days after Toledo (8-4) accepted an invitation to play in the fourth edition of the bowl game in the nation's capital, Beckman left the program after three seasons and become coach at Illinois.

Although Beckman came to the Rockets after spending more than a decade of coaching on the defensive side of the ball, it was Toledo's offense that came to flourish under Campbell. Athletic director Mike O'Brien originally named the 32-year-old Campbell an interim coach for the bowl game, but has since dropped the interim title.

"We are very pleased that Matt Campbell has agreed to become the head football coach at the University of Toledo," O'Brien said. "There is no doubt that Matt has done a terrific job in his three years as our offensive coordinator. The performance of our offense speaks for itself."

The Rockets averaged 42.3 points this season -- best in the Mid-American Conference and eighth nationally -- and since the start of November, they've averaged an FBS-best 53.8. Running a spread offense, Toledo averaged 221.2 yards rushing and 272.0 passing, one of 14 FBS schools above 200 in both categories.

Air Force, which won this year's Commander-in-Chief's Trophy by defeating Army and Navy, can also roll up yards and score some points. The Falcons' triple option attack averages 320 yards rushing per game, good for second in the FBS. Air Force's 38 rushing touchdowns this season ranks fourth in the FBS. The Falcons come into this game on a hot streak offensively, too, having scored 45 points in each of their last two regular season games.

Enjoy the game.

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