Navy accepted an invitation yesterday to play in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 22 in San Diego, marking the first time in its history it will play in bowls after three consecutive seasons.

Navy (6-4) likely will play Colorado State (6-5) in the bowl, which kicks off at 10:30 p.m. EST.

"I'd be surprised if Navy's opponent was anyone else," said Poinsettia Bowl Executive Director Bruce Binkowski, adding there was a slight chance the spot could be filled by Utah (6-5). The Mountain West Conference will announce the bowl destinations of its eligible teams today.

Navy also holds the option of playing in the Poinsettia Bowl anytime it has a winning season in 2008, 2009 or 2010. Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk wanted to guarantee the Midshipmen a bowl slot when they're eligible, a status they did not have as an independent.

Qualcomm Stadium is across San Diego Bay from Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, one of the largest naval bases in the country. Navy sold a combined 43,000 bowl tickets the past two years, as it lost to Texas Tech in the Houston Bowl in 2003 and defeated New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl last year.

Navy's players now turn their focus to their primary goal of the season: defeating Army (4-6) on Dec. 3 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to retain the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the third straight season.