The Naval Academy is expected to announce today that its football team has been selected to play in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 30.
Gary Cavalli, the bowl's executive director, traveled from the West Coast to be in Annapolis on Saturday to watch the Midshipmen rout Rutgers, 54-21, and was in a position to offer a bid because the Pacific-10 Conference did not qualify enough teams to fill one slot in the game.
He had expressed strong interest in Navy for several weeks, citing the team's backing of 25,000 fans in Houston last year. "They travel well, and they're a national team that does very well on TV," said Cavalli, who has also noted the pageantry and pride associated with the academy.
Navy was in a position to receive a bid from the more lucrative Liberty Bowl after Utah almost certainly joined the Bowl Championship Series by routing Brigham Young on Saturday night. But the Liberty Bowl is trying to match up Louisville with Boise State in a pairing of high-powered offenses.
The Emerald Bowl is played at SBC Park and offers $750,000 to each team, about $600,000 less than the Liberty in Memphis, Tenn.
Navy's opponent will be a team from the Mountain West Conference, which is expected to be either Wyoming or New Mexico.
Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said earlier the date was an important factor, allowing the Midshipmen to be home for Christmas and depart the following day. The attractiveness of the city of San Francisco also weighed in the equation.
The Midshipmen (8-2) have one regular-season game left - against Army on Dec. 4.