DECEMBER 19, 2006


SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl has reached an agreement with the United States Military Academy (Army) that guarantees the Black Knights a berth to the postseason bowl game if Army is bowl eligible this fall, bowl officials announced today.

The 2006 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl will kick off the bowl season on Dec. 19 at Qualcomm Stadium, pitting a representative from the Mountain West Conference against an at-large opponent. Army would fill that at-large spot should the Black Knights qualify for postseason play.

“This agreement puts our bowl game in a very favorable position heading into the upcoming football season,” 2006 bowl game chairman Rudy Castruita said. “The tradition-rich Army football program is one the San Diego region would welcome with open arms.”

An Army appearance would mark the second time in the two-year history of the bowl game that a service academy would participate in the game. Navy defeated Colorado State 51-30 in front of 36,842 fans during the inaugural contest last December.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to showcase our football program in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl,” said Army Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson. “We feel the tradition and pageantry of the Army football program is second to none and would provide a terrific spectacle for the people of San Diego.

“Coach (Bobby) Ross and I believe strongly that Army is ‘America’s Team.’ I can think of no better way to expose our program to the country than by playing in a game that kicks off the bowl season in a great city like San Diego. As a national program, Army has enjoyed a solid history of attracting large followings from all over the country to its bowl games. I’m certain our fans will be very excited to travel to Southern California in December to cheer on the Black Knights.”

Should Army earn a berth in the 2006 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, it would mark the Black Knights’ first bowl appearance since 1996. Army capped a record-setting 10-1 regular season with a showing opposite Auburn in the Independence Bowl that year.

An Army date in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl would also rate as a homecoming of sorts for the Black Knights’ head coach, Bobby Ross. Ross served a very successful five-year term as  head coach of the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers from 1992 to 1996. During that time, Ross fashioned a 50-36 (.581) record and led the club to three playoff appearances, including the only American Football Conference championship and Super Bowl appearance in franchise history in 1994.

Army, which is slated to begin the 117th intercollegiate season in school history Saturday at Arkansas State, sports one of the most storied histories in all of college football. The Black Knights captured three consecutive national championships from 1944 through 1946, boast three Heisman Trophy winners and have sent 26 individuals to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Since their inaugural contest in 1890, the Black Knights have never played a game in the city of San Diego, nor have they participated in a bowl game in the state of California. In all, Army has appeared in the Golden State on 10 occasions with their most recent California showing dating back to 1983 when the city of Pasadena hosted the Army-Navy Classic

Kickoff for the 2006 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PST). The initial matchup of the 2006 bowl season will be broadcast nationally by ESPN2.




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