from a earliar Big East reply
Third, I doubt very seriously if Army and Navy would want to join the Big East. I think they will stay independent. Army was in Conference USA for 6 years (1998-2004) and got out. I don't think they won more than 3 games during their time there. Joining the Big East is another step up from Conference USA. If Army or Navy were to join a conference, they should join the MAC. The MAC helped Temple revive it's program which floundered in the Big East. Also, Army and Navy's annual athletic budget is similar to the MAC members budgets approximately $25 million. Big East athletic programs budgets are double that and some close to triple. Other than geographically, I don't think it's a good fit. Yes, they would win here and there, but overall, they are handicapped and would have a hard time competing in the Big East on a consistant basis.
Please see my posts in the Big East and MAC threads on the logic of Army and Navy. Again, a school, even Army and NAvy, aren't going to join a shitty conference so they can win. Army and Navy use their football team are a recruitment and goodwill program. They schedule road games near areas where they can help recruitment or cities where there are vets and actives on leave. Wonder why Navy is virtually ties to the Poinsetta Bowl? Because of SD Navy bases. People need to remember that Army and Navy passed on the Big East, which does have schools near both bases...and both schools left or rejected CUSA, which is similar in base locations. But there is no benefit for Army or Navy to be in the MAC. The entire conference is in a small area. How many Navy bases are in Ohio and Indiana? How many Army bases?
These are different schools. They are academies. The logic for other public and private universities does not apply to them.
Quinn, I agree with you that these are different schools and they are academic. I also realize that they are financed differently and profit is not their bottom line but where I do disagree on other points. Some logic does apply.
1. The MAC is not a top conference for sure but is it any shittier than the Patriot Conference? I believe that both Army and Navy play other sports there. The MAC is more respected than the Patriot League at least athletically and the last I checked the MAC covered a bigger area than the Patriot.
2. Recruitment and Goodwill. The goodwill I buy but recruitment no. People do not go to those academies because a football team played a game in their hometown. Now I'm sure they like it their teams win but that not why they are there. As far as the rank and file, the come from all over the country because
they either want to protect and serve or for better opportunity.
3. Road games to help. Army played AT Eastern Michigan and AT Kent State not to mention that they played a 3rd MAC school Temple.
4. Leaving C-USA. Maybe Army left because their best record in the 6 years they were there was 3-8. Winning does matter, for example, Temple wasn't respected at all the entire time they were in the Big East because they lost every game. In the MAC, they are winning and a possible candidate for the Big East or C-USA. Georgia Southern is not going to upgrade because they do not want to be door mats. Maybe in the MAC, Army could go to a bowl every year. Even a lower bowl helps in recognition.
5. Navy or Army bases in Ohio and Indiana? That would be zero but when Army joined C-USA there were no Army bases in Ohio (Cincinnati), Tennessee (Memphis), Mississippi (Southern Miss), Louisiana (Tulane). That's more than half the league at the time. Has Army changed their philosophy since 2004.
6. San Diego. Yes it's a huge Navy town, as big as it gets and Navy has been to the Poiisettia bowl 3 of it's 6 year existence but in the 33 year history of the Holiday Bowl, Navy went only once. The first year in 1978.
Now after saying all this, do I think Army or Navy will join the MAC? Very slim to none. Do I think Army should consider? Yes. Is an 8 game MAC schedule combined with Notre Dame, Navy, Air Force and another school so terrible? Army played 3 MAC schools this year along with Duke, VMI, Tulane and Rutgers this past year. WOW, that schedule really brings in the recruits. I feel all cover up with goodwill now.
We're not talking about Army/Navy all-sports changes. These academies have made it crystal clear that they have no interest in prioritizing non-football sports. They are in the Patriot because it is one of the best academic conferences in the country, arguably right after the Ivy. Navy left the CAA (when it was mostly strong academic schools) to join the Patriot. Of course Army and Navy could get into the Big East for all sports if they wanted to...but they have made it clear that they dont.
As for San Diego and the holiday bowl, you must remember that the bowls all have tie-ins. The reason Navy wasn't in the Holiday bowl often was because for 20 years it was a WAC game, paid well, and had choices for a top at-large. This meant it was usually a Pac-10, Big 8, SWC or Big Ten team. For the past 10 years or so, it's been Pac 10 vs Big 12.
As for Army and Navy scheduling, you're right that 9 game conference schedules might have an effect on the 4 indys. But as for Army and Navy scheduling MAC teams now, it's because of the fact that they have less flexibility for mid-late season games. And you're right...they can beat up the MAC teams.
Recruitment comes into play simply for the Army/navy brand in these areas. You personally might not view the football games are part of service recruitment, but both branches do.
You just need to ask yourself: if Army and Navy have turned down the Big East, a conference in their backyard, a conference with a MUCH better TV contract than the MAC to get exposure, a conference televised in the northeast with schools in CT, NY, NJ, PA, WV, KY, OH and FL in major media markets...and they said no to even a partial membership....why would they pass on all that to join the bottom conference in FBS?