Another fight over tradition

And this one’s a doozy.

The College Football Playoff’s management committee will discuss Navy’s eligibility for this season’s New Year’s Six bowls because of the academy’s new conference affiliation and the timing of its annual game against Army.

Navy will join the American Athletic Conference in the fall.

The commissioners’ concern is if the Midshipmen are ranked high enough to earn one of the New Year’s Six bowl bids — and then lose the following week to Army. That loss would not count toward Navy’s final ranking, penalizing other teams that would have earned a New Year’s Six bowl bid if the loss was factored in.

When money and college football are involved, it’s a no-brainer to follow the money, but in this case, the PR optics are horrendous.  And don’t think the grand poobahs of the sport aren’t aware of that.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby best described the delicate matter facing the management committee.

“Given the rich history of the Army-Navy game, its patriotic significance and pageantry, I can appreciate the desire of the academies to play on a stand-alone date with the eyes of the nation able to watch,” Bowlsby said. “However at this juncture, I’m not sure how best to address the impact of the game’s outcome on the CFP given Navy’s move into the American Athletic Conference, and the potential for it to secure a spot in the structure as a conference champion, or highly ranked non-champion.

“I will want to discuss this possibility and viable options with my FBS commissioner colleagues before formulating a recommended course.”

Translation: oh, shit, do I have to make a decision?

Unfortunately, that’s what they pay you the big bucks for, Bob.

The problem for these guys is that crapping on the military is a spectacularly bad idea for a group that is already making mouth noises about needing Congressional help on the antitrust front.  But the other mid-major conferences aren’t going to let the CFP folks off the hook, because, money.

The likely solution?  Deflect the debate away from Army and Navy and make it a it’s-the-principle-of-the-thing call.

MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and Benson also indicated the policy needs to be reviewed. Besides Navy and Army, another possibility, a commissioner suggested, is what if other schools opt to play the week after the final rankings are released and, win or lose, would remain eligible for the New Year’s Six bowls? Also, what would keep independents Notre Dame and BYU from trying to schedule a 13th game the week after the final rankings?

Yeah, what if, bitchez?

Here’s the thing – no other schools besides those two are playing after the final rankings.  How hard would it be to prohibit any other schools from doing so?  Not very, except that’s not really the issue here.

Swarbrick said it’s important to maintain college football’s traditions.

“You want to try and honor and preserve traditions — look at how we protected the bowls,” another commissioner said. “Army-Navy is one of the more significant traditions in college football. How do you preserve that tradition without unsettling the basic elements of the playoff structure?”

One commissioner said 126 of the 128 FBS teams are conforming because of the College Football Playoff — except for Army and Navy, who play the only game after the rankings are released.

“That,” the commissioner said, “is the fundamental tension.”

I’m afraid this is a war the service academies aren’t gonna win.  College football’s most important tradition is undefeated.

40 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness

40 responses to “Another fight over tradition

  1. Bulldog Joe

    Not sure what is less likely to happen:

    Navy earning a New Year’s Six bowl bid or Navy losing to Army?

    Keep the tradition.

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  2. Russ

    Nebraska – Oklahoma, Texas – Texas A&M, Missouri – Kansas and a host of other old, dead rivalries say “Tradition? What’s that?”

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  3. reipar

    Let them keep the tradition and if Navy is ever in the mix just assume they lose the last game and give the bid to another team. Problem solved and everyone wins.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      In other words, punish Navy regardless if they win/lose against Army, due to the unique tradition they have in place with them. Nice.

      Does the American flag fly upside down at your house?

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      • reipar

        I do not think the word tradition means what you think it means. They just started doing this in 2009. If they want to keep doing it fine, but yeah they get punished for it.

        On a side note I love how someone takes the position that six years is not a tradition and you go straight to the “you are un-American” argument. Bravo sir. Bravo!

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          My flag comment was meant as a bit of tongue in cheek, and not to be taken all that literally. I certainly don’t think that you’re anti-American, support isis, or anything else if the sort.

          With that said, I have no problem extending a provision clause for both Army/Navy. Forcing them to move back their game in order to remain eligible lacks tact, which is why the NCAA most likely will continue full steam ahead on this.

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      • Bulldawg165

        “Does the American flag fly upside down at your house?”

        Are you serious with this? Newsflash: It’s a football game. Gee whiz.

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  4. Bulldawg165

    When’s the last time Navy was ranked high enough to go to one of the New Year’s Six bowls? Or I guess it was previously “the four BCS bowls?”

    I’m thinking this is much ado about nothing. An AAC champion isn’t making the CFP.

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    • If Navy’s the highest ranked mid-major at the time of the final rankings, it’s guaranteed a slot in one of the Big 6 bowl games.

      Don’t think the other mid-major conference commissioners are arguing about this hypothetically.

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      • reipar

        But now that the rankings are done by a committee they can just say Navy is not one of those teams. Instead it is team x and give the bid to them.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        As mentioned below, the chances of Navy being the highest ranked mid-major coupled with a loss to Army are insanely low. I estimated it at 2-3% but you might be able to convince me to bump that number up to 5%.

        Besides, if any program(s) deserves any sort of a protective clause that would offer them an advantage under such a wild scenario, its Army or Navy. And if another borderline NYD eligible team wants to bellyache about it, let them incur the PR nightmare that would be unleashed upon them.

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      • Bulldawg165

        “If Navy’s the highest ranked mid-major at the time of the final rankings”

        The last time they were ranked in the final Top 25 (yeah, not quite the same thing, I know), was in 2004 when they were…. 24th. No offense, but I think this whole discussion is pretty hypothetical.

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  5. 3rdandGrantham

    Even for those of a pedantic mindset, this really is a non-issue overall. The chances of Navy being ranked high enough to earn a spot in one of the six NYD bowls is absurdly low, especially considering they are joining a conference which features the likes of Temple, Tulsa, Memphis, and Uconn. If you’ll recall, Marshall was undefeated going into the final game as a CUSA member last year, in which their ranking was around #19-20 with absolutely zero shot of getting an invite. So to think that Navy could suddenly jump to near the top of the rankings in an extremely weak conference is beyond a stretch.

    On top of that (and let’s be honest here), if Navy was indeed good enough to magically find themselves remotely flirting with a NYD bowl, the chances of them losing to Army is perhaps even lower than their chances of having a shot at a big bowl game in the first place. And this is coming from the son of a former Army captain who pulls for Army to beat Navy yearly. In other words, we’re talking about squabbling over something that has about a 2-3% likelihood of happening anytime soon, which is silly. On second, thought, given the parties involved, sadly I’m not surprised at the drummed up ‘controversy’.

    Keep the game where it is, and put some type of provision in place in case the unthinkable happens, in which Navy would essentially be protected even if they lose under such a wild scenario. Besides, if other borderline NYD eligible teams want to yell and scream about Navy’s special treatment, we can all sit back and laugh at their myopic, self-induced PR nightmare that they would rightfully incur.

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    • PTC DAWG

      You miss the point, Marshall was the favorite to get an invite to one of the bowls that were not hosting a playoff game…gang of 6…Cotton, Fiesta, Peach and Orange last year.

      It is not about an invite to be one of the 4….not the way I read it anyways. They can’t come flat out and say it….

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    • Bazooka Joe

      +1,000 3rd….

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    • Bulldawg165

      ok, I actually agree with this, despite my objections with your “ZOMG you hate America” type comment above.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        See above…it wasnt supposed to be taken all that literally.

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        • Bulldawg165

          Ha yeah I noticed. Whoopsie 🙂

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            No, its my bad…it definitely came off as totally serious without a hint of sarcasm. Damn message boards and those fickle, emotionless words.

            This reminds me of the time here about a year ago, when I jokingly asked a particular negative poster how many times a day he kicked puppies. I awaited some sort of a laugh, but instead he went on some diatribe about his dog, the Humane Society, and the SPCA. Now THAT instance should have been obvious to anyone that it was not to be taken seriously….unfortunately for me I stumbled upon the one guy who clearly was oblivious to the obvious.

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            • Bulldawg165

              No worries. I’m pretty much the master around here at coming across harshly when I don’t intend to.

              The kicking puppies story should’ve been obvious, though. I mean kittens give way more satisfaction…

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  6. Bob

    I have been blessed to have attended 5 Army-Navy games. There is nothing remotely like it. Let it stand alone. With the schedules both play it is highly unlikely that this will ever be an issue. I only can dream of the day that West Point makes it a game again.

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    • reipar

      If you have been to five you might have been to everyone since they started the “tradition” of it being a stand alone game. Of course that assumes you meant you have been to the last five.

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      • Bob

        Sorry, guess I was unclear. Have not been since they pushed it back a week. My best friend who I served with on a couple of tours in Germany and in Desert Storm was a TAC officer at USMA. I was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground and got to go to 4. The other came while I attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA. My bad on not being clear.

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        • reipar

          Not a problem. I knew I was just assuming it was recent attendance. You went to the games when they were on their traditional last college football weekend of the year slot before they moved them to their new traditional slot of the weekend after college football ends. I like the idea someone mentioned of moving it to the weekend before college football starts. That solves the problem and starts yet a new tradition…..again.

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  7. Bazooka Joe

    Army-Navy means a lot more than the stupid CFP – leave the game as is and thumb your nose at the ncaa… screw them.

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  8. This seems like it would be easy to fix. Just play it the Saturday before the football season kicks off to mark the beginning of a new season–make it a big deal.

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    • Bulldawg165

      This would be cool.

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    • An end of the season game against a traditional rival makes more sense to me. No mater how poorly you’ve played, it’s a chance to end on a high note and make up for the losses. Do you think Tech would be happy to play us to begin the season? Do you think the game would mean as much to either team or the fans?

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      • Their fans will care either way–this would be an opportunity to better showcase the game. A week before the season starts, I am fired up to watch some football–I think a lot of folks are. Tap into that and take advantage–make it patriotic to watch. Make the President go. Get Senators–it should be THE place to be that weekend. Make it a Bowl game to start the season–like the Daytona 500. Build it up right and it would mean even more to their fans.

        Also–I don’t care what Tech would be happy or unhappy with…

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  9. Simple fix- release the CPF rankings and bowls 1 week later, which is still plenty of time before the bowls start. Or leave it as is, and just create a provision that if Army or Navy are looking like they might be selected for Big 6 bowl, then in that year only the selection show would be pushed back 7 days.

    And don’t say it can’t be done, that it’s not enough time before the bowls start. It is.

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    • You know who would love that idea? Espn. Can you imagine them getting an extra week to milk the who is in vs who is out debate.

      You know who would hate that? Every coach in America as they get a week less to study/prep for their bowl game opponent.

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    • Actually just realized it would not work. It would only allow six days between the army-navy game and first bowl game. That would be a logistical nightmare for both the teams and the fans.

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  10. Here’s an easy solution: Put Army in the FCS where it belongs.

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  11. The 984

    Oh I don’t know. Maybe wait and see and if it appears that Navy is right there in the mix with the Army game pending, you announce all the other slots and say the final mid-major slot depends on the result of the Army-Navy game. There’s no harm in delaying releasing the last slot (or every slot even) when there is one game of consequence left to play.

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  12. Big Al

    Not that this particular scenario is EVER going to happen, but move the game up to the last game of the season.

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  13. John Denver is High

    So, who will get into the College Football Playoffs first UGA or NAVY?

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