The 2023 bowl season continues Saturday afternoon with an intriguing matchup between James Madison and Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Normally, James Madison wouldn't be eligible for the postseason given its recent move from the FCS to the FBS, but the Dukes made the cut since there weren't enough six-win teams to fill the spots ahead of them. 

James Madison, which went 11-1 and didn't lose a single game in regulation, didn't get to play for the Sun Belt championship despite a victory vs. eventual champion Troy and a better conference record than East division winner Appalachian State. Ironically, App State is the only team to beat JMU this year, doing so in overtime on Nov. 18. 

Air Force looked like it was racing its way towards a potential Mountain West title and rocketed up the rankings with an 8-0 start to the season, but the Falcons completely imploded down the stretch. They lost their last four games in a row -- dropping two against teams that didn't qualify for a bowl in Army and Hawaii -- and fell out of the MWC race. The Falcons would love to regain their early-season form and send what was once a promising season out on a high note. 

How to watch Armed Forces Bowl live

Date: Saturday, Dec. 23 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium -- Fort Worth, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
For a limited time, new subscribers can save $20 on Fubo's Pro, Elite and Premier plans.

James Madison vs. Air Force: Need to know

James Madison under new leadership: Former James Madison coach Curt Cignetti was hired at Indiana after leading the Dukes to 19 wins in their first two years at the FBS level. He won't coach in the bowl game and his replacement, Bob Chesney from Holy Cross, won't be running the show in the Armed Forces Bowl, either. Damian Wroblewski, who joined James Madison's staff in 2018 as the offensive line coach and associate head coach for the offense, was named acting head coach following Cignetti's departure and will be on the sidelines for the Dukes.  

Dukes starting QB expected to play: Cignetti's departure isn't the only major change for James Madison. Longtime starting quarterback Jordan McCloud entered the transfer portal in early December but is expected to suit up for the game. McCloud threw for 3,400 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2023 while leading the Dukes to their 11-win season. However, James Madison has used four different quarterbacks this year and had a serious competition in the offseason, so it appears the spot may be open.  

Air Force defense could be the difference: Air Force's defense is arguably the most impressive unit in this whole game. The Falcons finished sixth nationally in total defense while allowing just over 277 yards per game, and their 17.9 points surrendered per game ranks top 15 in the FBS. Air Force is led on the back end by safety Thorpe Award winner Trey Taylor, who logged 71 total tackles, 4.5 for a loss, three interceptions and four pass breakups in 2023.

Armed Forces Bowl prediction, picks

Odds via SportsLine consensus

Despite James Madison's incredibly strong season and near-sterling résumé, it's hard to pick the Dukes with any confidence. They've seen way too much change with the loss of Cignetti to Indiana and McCloud entering the transfer portal. They aren't the only significant losses. James Madison has seen a starting offensive lineman, almost its entire starting defensive line, its top three linebackers and a starting quarterback leave the program. Air Force will be at mostly full strength, and while this game could down to the wire, the Falcons have a great shot at winning outright. Pick: Air Force +2.5

Which college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.