The Military Bowl is more than two weeks away, but coaches from both Air Force and Toledo were in town on Tuesday for an initial tour of the city in which their teams will be playing on Dec. 28 at RFK Stadium.
Falcons Coach Troy Calhoun is somewhat familiar with the Washington metropolitan area, having been in the vicinity to play Navy multiple times. Most recently, Air Force traveled to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Oct. 1 and departed with a 35-34 overtime win that was among the more memorable in service academy history.
What’s more, Navy was slated to play in the Military Bowl this year, but the Midshipmen suffered their first losing season since 2002 and did not qualify. With that slot open, Military Bowl officials figured going after another service academy made sense. Next year, Army has the tie-in to the Military Bowl.
“I think this is a bowl where we’d love to be part of the rotation with all three service academies,” said Calhoun, whose team is 7-5. “I think it’s a perfect match.”
For Toledo Coach Matt Campbell, the experience will be unique in that it will mark his first game as a head coach. Campbell had been the offensive coordinator for the past three seasons and then was named interim coach when Tim Beckman stepped down to become the coach at Illinois.
On Monday, Toledo (8-4) removed the interim tag, making Campbell, 32, the youngest head coach in FBS.
“Honestly I think our kids understood the opportunity coach Beckman had to move on better himself and his family,” Campbell said. “What I appreciate is our kids’ support and faith in our coaching staff that they wanted to keep this thing rolling. At the end of the day, it’s been a seamless transition.”