What The Army-Navy Matchup Could Mean For College Football

Army quarterback Angel Santiago finds an opening against the Midshipmen defense during the first quarter of the 115th Army-Navy football game, played at Baltimore’s M & T Bank Stadium Dec. 13, 2014.
Photo by Jim Dresbach

Oh how far we have come. The Army-Navy football game has always been a source of pride and patriotism for those both inside and outside of the military. But starting this year, “America’s Game”--- the only true amatuer college football game — has a chance to make a real impact on the college football world.

In May, Army, Navy and CBS announced their refusal to change the date of the annual Army-Navy game slated for Dec. 12 this year to adjust to the final College Football Playoff rankings and with good reason. It is not for the ratings or money that come with being the only college football game on that particular Saturday. It is to showcase what is truly unique about service academy football.

This game is normally planned a week after the traditional end to the college football season and after the final rankings are put out by the College Football Playoff selection committee. Due to the Navy joining the American Athletic Conference and its previous decade-long success as a Division I independent school, there is a real possibility that the Army-Navy game result could affect already established matchups in a New Years Six Bowl, as well as several second-tier matchups affiliated with the Group of Five conferences.

Presuming the Navy is the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences, it would eligible for an automatic berth in a New Years Six access bowl (most likely Fiesta or Peach). The chance of this scenario happening is not out of the question. The Navy enters this season coming off an eight-win campaign, a strong showing against NCAA football champion Ohio State and a Poinsettia Bowl victory against San Diego State. SB Nation currently has Navy second in its pre-season power rankings for the AAC. A return of star quarterback Keenan Reynolds and a favorable regular season schedule put the Navy Midshipmen in a good position prior to the start of the season.

If the Navy was to be that highest-ranked team with an access bowl spot and then subsequently lose to Army in “America’s Game” after the end of the regular season, that loss could drop Navy down to a lower bowl and replace it with the number two team from the Group of Five. This could start a chain reaction. A complete reshuffling of bowl matchups, promotions, and travel considerations would possibly take place for those teams in the Group of Five as well — all within one week. The first AAC bowl matchup — the AutoNation Cure Bowl — is slated for Dec. 19.

Athletic directors from Army and Navy have been adamant about keeping the contest a stand-alone game and with good reason. Last year’s game drew its highest rating in 15 years with a 4.5 rating and 10 share in Nielsen-rated markets. Each rating point accounts for slightly more than one million homes viewing the game. This was better than last year’s PAC-12 championship matchup between Oregon and Arizona and the Big Ten title game between Ohio State and Wisconsin.

"We have no intention of moving it. None," Navy athletics director Chet Gladchuk told USA TODAY Sports last month. "It would show that we've realigned our priorities in a way that doesn't complement our mission. We can't do it. It's something that's that special."

As a premier college football matchup, the Army-Navy game is the last bastion of student athletic football as we once knew it. Last year’s game produced the first NFL draftee in more than six years for either Army or Navy with Joe Cardona being selected in the fifth round by the New England Patriots. Before that, you have to look to the Army’s Caleb Campbell, who was taken 218th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. To put that into perspective, the 2014 NCAA title game between Ohio State and Oregon had seven total picks taken in the NFL draft between the two teams.

It is no secret that the future of these service academy kids will unlikely be playing for any NFL team. More importantly, the seniors from each team know that when the final whistle blows, they will swap uniforms and become professional officers in a variety of roles, many of them dangerous.

The simple fact is America needs to see this game by itself with no other college football distractions. There will be plenty of opportunities to watch superior college athletes, who will some day go on to play in super bowls and command millions of dollars in lucrative contracts with the NFL. However, to watch individuals in a stand-alone game, who then go on to serve their country in our armed forces, is a contract America should honor.

But, allow your mind to wander a bit. Let’s hope there is a point in the near future, possibly this year, where these two teams are more than a feel good marquee matchup. A chance for either Army or Navy to play spoiler with the current college football bowl system would be grand. It would elevate the game beyond its current status and provide the game with the football respect it deserves.

The College Football Playoff management committee has certainly taken notice of this timing conundrum by addressing it at Collegiate Commissioners Association meetings. The fact that they are concerned about the impact an Army-Navy game outcome could have on the 2015 college football bowl picture is a victory in and of itself.

Wouldn’t it be special for a group of true student athletes to wreak havoc on a system that has, for all intents and purposes, left them behind?

US Marine Corps

The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.

"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'

"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"

Read More Show Less

At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.

A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.

Read More Show Less

In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."

A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.

In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.

A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.

The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.

Read More Show Less