It’s a fact of life as a football independent that bowl games are hard to come by. Most bowl games have conference affiliations that make it hard for an independent like Navy to carve out a spot, even with the ever-growing roster of games. So when a conference and a bowl game split up, it’s big news for Navy fans. And that’s what we have today, as the ACC has decided to part ways with the Humanitarian Bowl.
“We will be leaving the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise,” ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com Wednesday. “They provided some excellent experiences for our teams. I think if you talk with our teams they’ve enjoyed being there. It’s a little different kind of bowl experience than a lot of places but our schools, coaches and athletic directors have wanted to move that particular game back more in our geographic footprint.”
Might the ACC’s departure create an opportunity for Navy to swoop in? It sounds like it:
“We’re working on two fronts — we want a one-year deal for 2009, and also are looking for someone to sign a longer-term deal with from 2010 and on,” McDonald said.
McDonald would not say who the bowl was speaking with for the future deals, though he did add that “we’re not just going to try and keep it geographical.”
That one-year 2009 deal sounds perfect, with the Congressional Bowl being locked up for 2008 and the Poinsettia Bowl’s at-large bid opening up again in 2010. And I think that the director’s comment about not necessarily limiting their selection to schools and conferences in close proximity to Boise is a clear signal to teams like Navy that they are in play. I have no doubt that Chet Gladchuk was on the phone the moment this news hit the wire.
I know what half of you are thinking. I can already hear the groaning. Boise? Yes, Boise. I know that the game is sort treated like the gag prize of the bowl season, but that’s just among the message board crowd. The Humanitarian Bowl Committee has a very good reputation around college football for treating their teams well. The main complaint about Boise is the cold, and yes, Boise is cold in December. But they put their cold to work for them. The Humanitarian Bowl is a sort of winter wonderland bowl game, with all the skiing and winter sports you can handle. It might not appeal to everybody, but spending New Year’s Eve skiing and watching football sounds like fun to me. It’s a unique bowl experience, and I’m all for it.
If you’re waiting for the Cotton Bowl to open up, you’re going to be waiting for a long time. I say we make the most of these opportunities when they present themselves.