The quote pretty much says it all.
“I don’t want to be un-American,” a bowl official told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, “but nearly everyone in the bowl industry, quite frankly, is rooting against Navy.”
Because the commissioners that run the College Football Playoff chose to include the Army-Navy game in the committee’s tabulations, there’s a chance the entire bowl industry could be thrown for a loop this year.
Navy is ranked No. 19 in the latest CFP rankings, two spots behind No. 17 Western Michigan ahead of each’s respective conference championship games this weekend. (WMU will face Ohio in the MAC title game on Friday, while Navy hosts Temple in the AAC Championship on Saturday.) Because of that, Navy is Western Michigan’s only viable competition for the Group of 5’s automatic slot in the Cotton Bowl, meaning a Middies win would require the Dec. 10 Army-Navy game be included in the committee’s Group of 5 tabulations.
And that would create a domino effect for the rest of the bowl industry. Writes McMurphy:
Delaying the Group of 5’s bid to the Cotton Bowl would impact many bowls involving Group of 5 teams. They would have to hold up placing teams in bowls without knowing if its champion could get pulled up to the Cotton Bowl. Also, opponents in those bowls wouldn’t know whom they were playing and then there are the obvious logistic and financial issues involved with waiting another seven days before planning travel, buying tickets and other factors.
That domino effect has a quick turnaround, with only a week between the Army-Navy game and the Dec. 17 kickoff of bowl season. Bowls typically require competing teams to arrive by that Wednesday, Dec. 14, meaning participating teams would have only three days to prepare for a bowl trip.
But wait, there’s more:
Not only would a delay impact the Group of 5 teams, but it also would prohibit the five to seven teams with losing records that qualified because of APR from getting placed into a bowl until Dec. 10 because those teams would go to the bowls that couldn’t be filled by bowl-eligible teams with a 6-6 record or better. The APR teams will be the last teams placed in bowls.
The easiest solution would be a Temple victory or, short of that, a Western Michigan win. (Actually, the simplest solution would be to not consider the Army-Navy game at all, but the commissioners’ infinite wisdom disagrees here.)
If Navy wins and WMU loses, suddenly the Mountain West champ (San Diego State or Wyoming) and possible Conference USA champion Western Kentucky could join the mix. Only conference champions are considered for the Cotton Bowl slot, so 12-1 Western Michigan would not be in the mix.
But the easiest way to avoid all of this would be a Temple victory on Saturday. No pressure, Owls.