It’s one of the last purities left in college football.
There was a time when the Army-Navy game mattered on the national scale; when the two were actually elite programs. There were years where the game determined national championships (Army 1944-46), and Heisman Trophy winners like Roger Staubach.
Of course, those were the years when your grandfather could buy a Coke for a nickel after walking uphill in the snow (both ways) without any shoes. Now, at least in terms of BCS bowls and five-star recruits, “America’s Game” has slightly less meaning. Okay, a lot less meaning.
But Army-Navy still matters.
Never mind that Navy’s 31-17 win over Army today put the Midshipmen at a 9-game winning streak in the series. The event itself is such a large part of our country’s heart and soul that, in many ways, it’s more than just a game. Chants of “Beat Army!” and “Beat Navy!” are timeless in nature. The stories of fallen heroes who played in the game remind us so much of what has been sacrificed to keep our nation what it is.
The singing of the alma maters after the game is enough to give you goosebumps.
Army-Navy is nostalgic. It’s as synonymous with the holiday season as grandma’s house and crisp temperatures. I’m sure there were households all over the country with their living room television tuned to the game. Granted, it might have been on in the background as families and friends visited, but it was nevertheless a part of their lives.
There are great rivalries in college football, but sometimes even games like Ohio State-Michigan lose a little luster — like, now for instance. Not Army-Navy. The environment is too unique.
No matter how lopsided the game is now, we still turn it on. If nothing else, it is an homage to the game and the servicemen who play in it.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.
“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”
That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.
In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.
This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.
It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.
The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.