5 Thoughts - 2008 Armed Forces Bowl
Houston WR Chaz Rodriguez
Houston WR Chaz Rodriguez
Posted Dec 31, 2008

Houston beats Air Force 34-28 ... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 Armed Forces Bowl

5 Thoughts ... 2008 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

Air Force (8-4) vs. Houston (7-5)

GAME RECAP: Houston wins fun shootout
- 2008 CFN Armed Forces Bowl Preview 
2008 Armed Forces Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. I’ll be the one to say it … there’s something icky about a corporation using a bowl game to advertise and make more money under the guise of praising the troops. It’s a fantastic idea to have an Armed Forces Bowl, when all five branches of the military get honored with the spotlight of a big college football post-season game, but the problem kicks in when a company blurs the line between patriotism and capitalism, as Bell Helicopters does as the bowl’s title sponsor. If the company wants to advertise its product, that’s obviously fine, but this is a very, very well compensated government contractor that's using this bowl to thank the government for its business. Bell Helicopters isn’t sponsoring this thing, and it’s not running its ads to tug on your heartstrings, out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re piggybacking the idea of supporting the troops with moving more product by attaching the Bell Helicopter name to the sacrifices and work done by the men and women who serve our country. Want to honor the troops? Run the “thank you” ads and don’t attach your name to it. Make it all about the troops and not about the helicopter. - Pete Fiutak

2. While QB Case Keenum deservedly gets leading man status around Houston, the offense really took off when rookie RB Bryce Beall got a bump in playing time at the end of September. A slippery runner and outstanding receiver, he gives the high-powered Cougar attack a dangerous dose of balance. Beall actually upstaged Keenum in Fort Worth, rushing for 134 yards and a score, while adding four catches for 92 yards. With just about every skill position player back from the nation’s most prolific offense, go ahead and feel free to install the Cougars as the early favorite to win Conference USA in 2009. - Richard Cirminiello

Houston got jobbed when the replay booth ruled that a Cougar ballcarrier had fumbled before breaking the plane of the goal line early in the fourth quarter, with UH holding a tenuous 24-20 lead. The lack of a goal-line camera, shamefully still an item we have to talk about in college football (sigh), deprived replay reviewers of an adequate angle; had the booth been given a genuine look at the goal line, there's no way the crew could have deprived Houston of a touchdown on the play. All networks simply have to have goal-line cameras... certainly for high-profile regular-season contests and every single bowl game. Bowl games bring big TV ratings and a nice stack of cash to broadcasters; the least the networks can do, in return, is to offer fan-friendly and replay-friendly devices such as goal-line cameras. - Matthew Zemek

4. You know how a contingent of pro personnel will go to a college game to scout the next generation of NFLers? Or college coaches will visit with high school blue-chippers? Well, the Armed Forces Bowl was the type of event that should have attracted a bunch of athletic directors with marginal situations on the sidelines. Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun are quietly two of the hottest young coaches in the country. Sumlin has big-game experience from his days at Oklahoma and did a fantastic job in his first year, guiding the Cougars to a strong finish and their first bowl win since 1980. Calhoun has taken a Falcon team that was supposed to be rebuilding to back-to-back bowl games in his first two years. Both are young. Both get a ton of offensive parts back. Both could be fielding offers for major promotions next December. 
- Richard Cirminiello  

Houston freshman receiver Tyron Carrier is a terrifically talented player. The Cougar coaching staff will love the fact that they were able to win today's game while watching the young speedster encounter some teachable moments. At the end of the first half, Carrier eschewed going out of bounds in an ill-advised attempt to gain a touchdown, costing his team three points. With roughly two minutes left in the fourth quarter and Air Force bereft of timeouts, Carrier strolled out of bounds to save the Falcons about 20 seconds.
Coaches love it when they win and yet can correct freshman mistakes. When Kevin Sumlin and staff approach spring ball, they'll be able to tell all their players--particularly studs like Carrier--how to handle late-half and endgame situations. Expect a stronger and smarter 2009 from Carrier and Houston's other speedy skill people on the edges.
- Matthew Zemek