Independence Bowl Preview: Air Force, Georgia Tech Turn Back the Clock

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, December 27, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2

What it is: A sort of bridge between the warm-up bowls before it and the more interesting match-ups that follow.

The teams: Air Force and Georgia Tech

How Air Force got here: By being a decent team in the Moutain West. I would still contend that the MWC was much stronger than anyone gives them credit for being this year, but the bottom of the conference was not what you might call real upset threats. The Falcons went 3-4 against bowl-eligible teams, with only one of those wins coming against a team that finished better than .500. But that team was Navy, and when the win against Army is thrown in, it means that Air Force won the Commander in Chief's Trophy, which is still something special. And Air Force was competitive in three of its four losses -- by three to Oklahoma, two to San Diego State and five to Utah. The Falcons' triple option attack was powered by Tim Jefferson, the quarterback, who rushed for 769 yards, passed for 1,342 and had 25 combined TDs. Asher Clark, who ran for 1,001 yards and five scores, was also important.

How Georgia Tech got here: Um, by not being terrible? The Yellow Jackets' wins this year: S.C. State, at UNC under the ACC Chaos Theory, at Wake Forest, Virginia, Middle Tennessee and Duke. Yes, the only wins against bowl-eligible programs were against the Tar Heels when they were still trying to figure out if they had enough players to field a team and a break-even Sun Belt team. The Jackets lost to Kansas a week after Kansas had lost to North Dakota State -- while scoring only three points. Joshua Nesbitt and Anthony Allen still had pretty good numbers on the season, but this is not the kind of team that Tech had in mind when it hired a "guru" of the triple-option offense to install the system in Atlanta.

College football fans care because: It's a chance to see old-school college football.

SEC fans care because: An Air Force win provides ammunition for another year of jokes at a certain conference's expense.

Watch this game if...: You hate the forward pass, or at least like to watch teams try to score without it.

The result: Air Force 37, Georgia Tech 23

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