Pirates, Golden Eagles accept invites

Updated: November 30, 2010, 4:38 PM ET
By Andrea Adelson | ESPN.com

East Carolina and Southern Miss became the first two Conference USA schools to accept bowl bids Tuesday.

The Pirates (6-6, 5-3) are headed to the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman on Dec. 29 against an ACC opponent. Southern Miss will play in the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 21 against a Big East team.

The Golden Eagles (8-4, 5-3) are headed to their ninth straight bowl game, the league's longest active bowl streak. This is their first bowl trip to Florida in 29 years since playing Missouri in the 1981 Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.

East Carolina will make an unprecedented fifth straight bowl appearance, its seventh since 2000 and 17th overall in program history. First-year coach Ruffin McNeill played a role in the school's first modern era bowl victory as a starting safety in the 1978 Independence Bowl against Louisiana Tech.

The two schools join Hawaii (Sheraton Hawaii Bowl) and Navy (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl) with their bowl destinations in hand.

Army (6-5) has accepted a bid to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas on Dec. 30 against a Conference USA opponent. This is the first bowl appearance for the Black Knights since 1996, when Army lost to Auburn 32-29 in the Independence Bowl.

They were able to get into the game thanks to a backup agreement with the bowl. With TCU headed to a BCS game, the Mountain West did not have enough eligible teams to fill its spot in Dallas.

Andrea Adelson is a national college football writer for ESPN.com.