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#pounditFriday, June 21, 2024

This is why 9-2 Army was snubbed of a bowl game

Army Black Knights

The Army Black Knights posted an impressive 9-2 season in 2020, and unlike a number of teams, were willing to participate in a bowl game. Yet they still didn’t get an invite, much to the disgust of many. People were especially peeved at Army not being invited to either the Military Bowl or Armed Forces Bowl despite the fact that Army bested its fellow service academies, Navy and Air Force, during the season.

Army’s exclusion is ultimately down to a combination of a preseason guarantee and convoluted contractual agreements between schools and bowl games. As laid out by Stewart Mandel of The Athletic, Army made a preseason commitment to play in the Independence Bowl, which would have pitted them against a Pac-12 team. However, so many Pac-12 teams opted out of bowl games that the Independence Bowl, as well as the Armed Forces Bowl, had an insufficient slate of teams to choose from, forcing them to cancel the games.

The Armed Forces Bowl did not take Army due to a pre-existing agreement between ESPN and the AAC, which requires the network to take a predetermined number of AAC teams in its bowl game productions. That meant the Armed Forces Bowl took Tulsa to face Mississippi State.

One source was critical of conference commissioners, blaming them for Army’s bowl snub.

“The number of schools whom opted in earlier in year – then opted out when they didn’t get the game they liked – is disturbing,” the source told Brett McMurphy of Stadium. “And those commissioners just stood by & let it happen.”

Unfortunately, the unforeseen circumstances of the 2020 season have really hurt Army. The list of Power 5 schools declining bowl bids is enormous, and has left a lot of second-tier games without enough teams to choose from. That had an effect on Group of 5 schools who suddenly don’t have enough opponents to even go to bowl games.


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