There is a rivalry brewing in the East as Raycom Sports reached an agreement with the NAAA to give Navy priority involvement in Meineke Tire Care Bowl over the 3rd place finisher in the Big (L)East. Basically what this means is if it comes down to the Navy or the 3rd Big East team, the Bowl will likely take Navy. Interestingly enough, the team slated to finish 3rd in the Big (L)East could be none other then our yearly opponent Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have shown they are out of the dregs of the college football universe, and look to return one of the bets backfields in the country this season. All this will of course add to the importance of the Navy-Rutgers matchup later this year, and has fueled more talk about Navy and possibly joining the Big (L)East, although mostly by Rutgers fans who don't understand how good Navy has it as an Independent.
Athletic Director Chet Gladchuck had this to say: “The recent success of our program both on the field and in the stands has created the exciting opportunity we have before us with the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The pageantry of Navy football is about a winning team, thousands of fans, embracing a community by the entire Navy family, and an overall institutional commitment second to none. A successful football team opens many doors, and everyone is hopeful in 2006 that we will realize a number of our goals, one clearly being a trip to Charlotte in December.”
Needless to say the Rutgers fans are, as the kids say these days, straight up perturbed. Constant back and forth action between Rutgers fans and Navy fans is taking place on both the Rivals.com Rutgers message board and the Navy message board, with no clear winner. To add to that chaos, the UCONN fans-who get this-actually think they have a chance at coming in 3rd in the Big (L)East, are rioting as well. It seems that a lot of blame is being given to Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, who failed to see the deal coming. It will be interesting to see how this plays out more so for the Big East then Navy, as the conference struggles to get its middle-of-the-road teams more exposure. Some Big East fans have even suggested government interference, which of course is absurd, I mean the Naval Academy Athletic Association isn't run by a bunch of hobos, they do have money after all...
The Meineke Car Care Bowl will likely pit Navy (if we get 6 wins) against the 4th place finisher In the ACC. I personally would love (as I know may of you would as well) to see a rematch against a Maryland team that we should of beat last year, and who I believe would could flat out destroy this year. Other teams that could be available of course are Georgia Tech, NC State, Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech. Not only will this give the Mids a chance to play against what could likely amount to a Top 25 team, it also grants the program more TV exposure as the game will be featured on ESPN. The game takes place Saturday, Dec. 30 in the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. In addition, the payout is considerably larger then previous Bowls Navy has played in, with teams playing in 2004 and 2005 pulling in around $1.3 million.
It's interesting to note that Navy is still pursuing other Bowls as well, including the Poinsettia Bowl and the Insight Bowl. The deal with Raycom would still allow Navy to play In the *gasp* BCS *gasp* if by some act of God the Mids upended Notre Dame and everyone else. There has also been talk around the GoMids.com message board that Navy is close to a deal with the Insight.com Bowl for 2008 in Phoenix, which coincidently is my favorite city in the world.
Here are some links to various stories regarding the deal:
Charlotte Deal Improves Navy's Bowl Positioning-Annapolis Capitol
Deal Makes Navy Eligible For Meineke Car Care Bowl-Baltimore Sun
Navy Eligible For Meineke Bowl-Charlotte Observer