Air Force to play in Independence Bowl

Falcons sophomore quarterback Tim Jefferson goes airborne for a touchdown on fourth and goal from the 1 during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 31, 2009. Jefferson, an Atlanta native, had 161 passing yards and 37 rushing yards in Air Force's 47-20 victory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson goes airborne for a touchdown on fourth and goal from the 1 during the 2009 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The Falcons have accepted an invitation to play in the 2010 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Dec. 27, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Falcons will play in the 2010 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl against an Atlantic Coast Conference team Dec. 27 at 4 p.m. Central Time on ESPN2 at Independence Stadium, bowl officials announced Dec. 1.

Air Force will learn its opponent Dec. 5 when the matchup is formally announced.

The Independence Bowl is beginning partnerships with the ACC and the Mountain West Conference in an agreement that runs through 2013. This year's game marks the 35th anniversary of the Independence Bowl, the nation's 11th-oldest bowl game.

"We are thrilled to have Air Force play in the 2010 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl this year as we begin a new partnership with the Mountain West Conference," said 2010 bowl chair Jim Hagan. "We feel this matchup between Air Force and a quality opponent from the ACC will excite our fans in Shreveport-Bossier City and throughout the region, and we look forward to a great game."

The Falcons finished their season with an 8-4 overall record and a 5-3 mark in Mountain West Conference play, good for a third-place tie in the conference with BYU and San Diego State. The Falcons become the first service academy team to play in the I-Bowl since Army in 1996.

The Falcons have posted at least eight wins and qualified for a bowl game the last four seasons under head coach Troy Calhoun. Air Force enters the Independence Bowl riding a three-game winning streak. Air Force claimed the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with wins over Navy and Army this season, capturing the trophy for the 17th time and for the first time since 2002.

"The Air Force Falcons are honored to get a chance to come back to the Shreveport-Bossier City and Barksdale Air Force Base community," Calhoun said. "Our cadets, administration, coaches, and supporters are excited to soon head south to be a part of one of college football's treasures- the Independence Bowl."

"We're proud and excited to be headed to the Independence Bowl to take on a great opponent from the ACC," said Athletics Director Dr. Hans Mueh. "This is a great opportunity for our school, coaches, players, and fans. Our football team has had a great season, and this is an outstanding way for them to close it out."

Army and Navy will play in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, respectively, marking the first time in history that all three U.S. service academies will play in bowl games in the same season.

The Falcons have made three-straight appearances in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, facing Houston the last two years and playing California in 2007.