Saturday will be the busiest day of bowl games yet, as five of them will appear on your television screens. After a day off for the NFL regular season finales, New Year’s Eve will hit you with four and New Year’s Day will give you another six more. This is the thickest part of the schedule, and it starts on Saturday morning with the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl between the Rice Owls of Conference USA and the Air Force Falcons of the Mountain West.
Rice Owls vs. Air Force Falcons | Saturday, Dec. 29, 11:45am ET | AFA -3 | ESPN
This is not a great, quality matchup, as both competitors are 6-6, but there are a few things that stand out.
• Air Force is another triple option service academy. They’ve got one of the best run games and one of the worst passing games, so there’s that.
• Both of these teams give up about the same amount of points as they score, to within less than half a point per game.
• Rice has a below-average rush defense, which will definitely hurt them in a game like this.
• Rice is on a four-game win streak.
Air Force will have an advantage when they’ve got their triple-option offense on the field, but so will Rice when their offense is present as well. In a more-or-less even game, the hot team tends to win, and that’s the Owls right now.
2012 Armed Forces Bowl Pick: Rice