9-2 Army Is Being Left Out Of Bowl Season Because The Bowl System Is A Joke

How were the Army Black Knights rewarded for a 9-2 season after beating Air Force Saturday and taking home the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy? They were left out of ESPN’s COVID 2020 bowl schedule, but the Worldwide Leader is trying to pin this on the Pac-12 and teams not wanting to play Army on short notice.

In a story posted early this morning on ESPN.com, reporter Adam Rittenberg catches up with Army head coach Jeff Monken who is furious at his team having to beg for a bowl game.

“We had guys in tears,” Monken told Rittenberg. “We pulled off the biggest wins of these seniors’ career. They just won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy back. That’s going to be their legacy, and they’re looking forward to playing in a bowl game one time together before they go off in the United States Army, and we’re sitting here telling them, ‘Sorry, guys, you can’t play.’

“You can talk about a playoff system and people bitching about they’re not a top-four team, ‘Oh, we should be in.’ All we want is a bowl game. All we want is a chance to play.”

How does this happen? How is it the Commander-in-Chief trophy winner has to spend Selection Sunday begging to play a football game? You can thank the messed up system that ESPN & college football have created with bowl tie-ins, conference guarantees, and ESPN controlling all but one game this bowl season. (CBSSN has the Arizona Bowl featuring MAC champion Ball State vs. Mountain West champion San Jose State).

Now ESPN is out this morning with a story acting like what has happened with Army is a travesty.

Monken has focused his energy completely on Pac-12 teams opting out of the Independence Bowl, leading to the cancellation of the game. In the cancellation, the Bowl stated “the opting out of possible teams created a lack of teams available to play in bowl games.”


In October, Army accepted a bid to the Independence Bowl and was scheduled to play a Pac-12 team. The understanding before COVID was that the Pac-12 would be there this year. The Pac-12 restarted its season in November, and the Independence Bowl still thought that it had a contract with the conference. Then the COVID surge comes, California is a total mess and bowl season is on the horizon.

Someone at ESPN and the Independence Bowl has to be able to forecast that they need an opponent for Army and a backup for the backup team. Someone has to tell Arkansas State to be ready just in case. You’re telling me there isn’t a single team out there willing to play Army on short notice? What about Navy? Texas Tech turned down the opportunity to play? Kansas State?

Here’s the solution that should’ve happened Sunday afternoon. Someone at ESPN, the SEC and the Independence Bowl should’ve gotten on the phone and worked out an agreement to move Tennessee out of the Liberty Bowl. Make financial arrangements. Tell Jeremy Pruitt he’s getting $100k in his pocket to move on.

Instead, 9-2 Army’s about to be left out of bowl season. Just another disaster from college football and its messed up bowl system.

ESPN-owned bowls & the teams playing in 2020:

Gasparilla Bowl: South Carolina vs. UAB

Camellia Bowl: Marshall vs. Buffalo

First Responder Bowl: Louisiana vs. UTSA

Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Appalachian State vs. North Texas

Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. TCU

New Mexico Bowl: Hawai’i vs. Houston

Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa vs. Mississippi State

Potato Bowl: Tulane vs. Nevada

Notes: South Carolina is 2-8 and hasn’t won since October 17 when the ‘Cocks beat Auburn; Mississippi State is 3-7 with nice wins over LSU and Missouri; Arkansas is 3-7.


Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.


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  1. I’m an SEC fan, a UT fan, and I don’t think any of our 3-7 teams should be playing in bowls. It’s ridiculous, especially when a team like Army has had a great year and wants to play. I’d have put them in the Armed Forces Bowl against Tulsa, so you’ve got the tie-in with military. Would have been cool. I’m telling you, chasing $$$ and squeezing every last penny is going to be the end of what football is today. The game was here before the business, so if you stop respecting the game it will die. You can’t do that.

  2. The other story is this is a really bad look for the SEC with multiple 3-7 or worse teams playing and not a single other Power 5 conference with losing teams playing in bowls. The right thing to do is for the SEC to step up and make SC stay home. 2-8? Please!

  3. Hmmm….so a slew of the ESPN-owned bowl games have been cancelled, but hey, there’s still plenty of spots left for our best buddies the SEC. There’s a thing called the Armed Forces Bowl being played in Texas that isn’t featuring ANY military academy school, but does feature a match-up with a 3 win team playing…can’t make this stuff up.

  4. You are just furthering the lame ESPN bias and narrative. Why would the Independence Bowl want a
    3-7 Tennessee team instead of a team, West Virginia for instance, that actually achieved a winning record. I am actually disappointed that WVU has to play Tennessee and don’t really care if we win or lose. If WVU played Army that would be cool. None of the teams with losing records mentioned in the article (K State, Texas Tech or Tennessee) even deserve to play in bowl games. This was a no brainer. On Sunday for about 2 hours WVU had no bowl opponent in the Liberty Bowl. Well ESPN, did no one at your nit witted network think, hey here we have Army and WVU maybe they could play? Nah, the ratings whores at ESPN thought maybe just maybe we can make a few $$’s off of a Power 5 v Power 5 game that no one cares about and both teams will likely sleep walk through. Lame as fuck.

  5. Here’s an idea: take all the service academies without losing records and fill their bowls first. Then the South Carolinas and Arkansases of the world are the ones left out. Reward the real student athletes and oh yeah, the future defenders of our country that allow ESPN and their ilk to crap on their achievements.

  6. One foot Coronabros (Pac-12, California in general) the other foot E$PN. Both feet planted squarely up asses of every deserving team in college football. What a crap show. E$PN should be ashamed. I dont know the legal or logistics but cant FOX hop in with some sort of bowl package featuring these teams?

  7. It’s just another travesty. ESPN sucks so bad and I give the NCAA and the ass clowns who run college football a “F” grade. For that matter, the SEC should be ashamed to send 3-7 teams to bowl games. I won’t watch any of this garbage. I’m boycotting the bowls just like I did the NBA, ESPN, and all Sports programs not dedicated to SPORTS!!!

  8. It is a damn shame that Army, a school with real student-athletes, were not rewarded for their hard work this season, while a 3-7 SEC team took its place in a bowl game. ESPN, the SEC and Big10 will have a stranglehold on the teams that get in the playoff (sometimes because they are very good and are deserving), but other times because of their traveling fan bases and eyeballs with their viewership. Those are not good reasons to keep supporting college football, or its playoff.

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