It would have been fun. But it’s not gonna happen.
Forget about an Air Force-Navy re-match in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Bruce Binkowski, the bowl’s executive director, said it’s impossible because the teams already have met.
“We will not have a re-match of a regular season game,” Binkowski said Monday morning, putting an end to speculation that the rival service academies could meet in the game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Dec. 20. “I know some coaches like it, some coaches don’t. We decided early on, even in the Holiday Bowl (the sister bowl of the Poinsettia Bowl) that if you play during the regular season we will avoid that re-match.”
Navy beat Air Force, 31-20, on Sept. 29.
Poinsettia Bowl representative Weldon Donaldson attended Air Force’s 20-12 victory over Wyoming on Saturday and said a re-match was possible if both teams agreed to it. That ignited speculation, and on Sunday, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun campaigned for a re-match, saying it could be “one of the absolute gems of the postseason.”
Binkowski said the bowl often does “consider” the wishes of a team when selecting an opponent. But if Navy becomes bowl eligible by winning six or more games, it receives an automatic bid to the bowl. And Air Force would not even be considered as an opponent.
“If Navy is bowl eligible, we will go in another direction,” Binkowsi said. “If Navy is not bowl eligible, we would certainly look at Air Force.”
It seems likely the Midshipmen, who are 4-3, will get to six victories. They have games remaining against Delaware of the Bowl Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA), Notre Dame (1-7), North Texas (1-6), Northern Illinois (1-7) and Army (3-5).
If Navy is eligible, the Poinsettia Bowl will select its opponent from the Mountain West Conference. The bowl gets the second choice of Mountain West Conference teams (after the Las Vegas Bowl, which typically will take the Mountain West champion).
But it would not pick Air Force.
“Air Force is going to land somewhere,” Binkowski said. “They’ve had a great year.”