Duke is in a bowl again this year after earning bowl eligibility with an 8-4 regular season record. The team’s return to bowl affairs will be marked by quite the momentous occasion, with the program set to take on the University of Central Florida in the Military Bowl.
The game will be hosted at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland on December 28, and will provide the Blue Devils with their first appearance in the Military Bowl. It will also be their first matchup with UCF, which lost to Tulane 45-28 in the American Athletic Conference championship this past Saturday, having posted a 9-4 record themselves.
Duke’s head coach Mike Elko has expressed how much of an honor it is for the program to be selected for the bowl, noting his players and coaching staff have worked hard to get to such a point.
“It is an honor to be selected to participate in the Military Bowl and sincere appreciation goes to Steve Beck and the entire bowl staff for their dedication and commitment to providing a first-rate bowl experience for both programs,” the first-year coach remarked.
“Our team has worked extremely hard over the past 11 months to achieve this goal, and we are excited for the opportunity to prepare and play against a terrific UCF squad.”
Duke went through three straight losing seasons since beating Temple in the Independence Bowl back in 2018. They went a dismal 1-17 in the ACC in 2020 and 2021, also losing 13 consecutive games.
Elko’s arrival has obviously been great for Duke, who are going back to bowl football during his first season in charge. David Cutcliffe, who exited last November, led the Blue Devils to six bowl games in seven seasons, three of which they won. Duke snagged the 2015 Pinstripe Bowl, 2017 Quick Lane Bowl, and 2018 Independence Bowl.
The Blue Devils hadn’t played in a bowl game since the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl before Cutcliffe was hired and have to go back as far back as 1961 – when they won the Cotton Bowl – to come up with a bowl win.
Elko will hope to get the Durham-based program another bowl victory the first time of asking. It would round the season out pretty nicely as he’s already been named the ACC Coach of the Year in his inaugural term. The Blue Devils went 5-3 in the ACC this year, which counts for their most league victories since 2014.
UCF, on the other hand, are going to their seventh straight bowl game so they will be favored to come out on top and betting will likely be rife all over the country as it pertains to this game, with Arizona betting apps set to be among those offering the best odds on the biggest sporting events of 2022.
The Military Bowl has been played at the aforementioned venue since 2013. The NCAA-sanctioned Division I bowl game comes around every December and was hosted at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C. from 2008, before moving to Maryland.
It was one of two bowls approved by the NCAA for the 2008 college football bowl season – the St. Petersburg Bowl was the other. The governing body’s Postseason Football Licensing Subcommittee gave the green light on April 30 of that year. The first game was the 2008/09 bowl season’s opener, kicking off on December 20.
The game’s organizers announced in 2010 that the NCAA had given the bowl certification a four-year extension which saw it through to the 2013/14 bowl season. The bowl made over $18 million for D.C. that year.
The Military Bowl hasn’t been played since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but, from 2014 to 2019, pitted teams from the American Athletic Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference against each other.
The bowl went through the planning stages as the Congressional Bowl, however, it was introduced as the EagleBank Bowl in Washington in 2008 as sponsorship came from local financial institution EagleBank. The name changed to the Military Bowl when Northrop Grumman was the title sponsor from 201-2019. Sponsorship changed again in 2020, with Perspecta Inc. taking over to leave the official name the “Military Bowl presented by Perspecta.”
It’s now the Military Bowl sponsored by Peraton due to Peraton becoming the sponsor in 2021.
As mentioned above, the bowl didn’t take place in 2020. There were not enough available teams to participate in various bowls across the United States back then and, on December 21, 2020, the Military Bowl was officially canceled as teams from the AAC and ACC couldn’t be selected. It was again canceled in 2021 as Boston College, which was supposed to play East Carolina, experienced COVID-related issues.