As mentioned in the Sun Belt realignment thread, while Army doesn't have to join a conference, the best fit seems to be the MAC. Their stint in CUSA was weird. They're in the MAC's geographical footprint and their recent level of play would fit them well in the MAC. Personally, I know it wouldn't happen, but I'd love to see Navy jump in the MAC. That way their divisional game against Army wouldn't waste an OOC game slot. So the MAC would be:
West - Northern Illinois, Ball St, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Toledo, Bowling Green, Miami (OH)
East - Akron, Kent St, Ohio, Buffalo, Massachusetts (if they stay), Army, Navy, ***8th member (JMU? Marshall? Western Kentucky (go West, move Miami (OH) East))***
The service academies don't care about travel cost. They only care about #1 what will help them recruit (for the Army not the fb team) and #2 not getting slaughtered (thus looking bad).
Old CUSA (basically current AAC) solved #1 but not #2 (they got hammered)
Joining the MAC would solve #2 but not #1 (basically just Ohio/Michigan w/ an occasional game in either Ill/Ind)
Neither solve(d) both.
The new CUSA would be good but they would have to expand to 16 and most likely force a 9 game schedule on them which when you add in the Navy/AFA games they'd only have 1 true OOC game so that's not a real option.
Army wants a game in the West, SW, South, and Midwest just about every year.
The SBC could give them a game in the South and Southwest every year and with an 8 game schedule they could still schedule Navy, AFA, a school in Cali, and a school in the Midwest to keep their national recruiting on track and it also happens to be the easiest conference in all of FBS who only has a core of 4 tested schools in Ark St, ULL, ULM, and Troy, everyone else is a recent upgrades with the exception of the fb only doormats of the West.
Alabama, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia are all in the top 12 of Army recruitment penetration and when you add in their neighbors Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina they can touch base with half of their top 12 regularly in just conference play. http://www.dailyyonder.com/largest-shar ... 03/02/1962
Army doesn't want to be in a dying rust belt conference that primarily confines them to Ohio/Michigan. In addition to hurting their non-colligate recruiting for the service by limiting them to the Midwest, it would also most likely be a repeat of what happened in CUSA. Army has only really beaten 5 MAC teams in the past 5 years: Kent St in 2010 and Ball St in 2009, and EMU in '08, '09, '10; and racked up a total of 15 losses over that same time frame giving them an average W-L record of 1-3 which if we double that it would give Army an average conference record of 2-6 over the last 5 years which if we multiply by 6 we get 12-36 which is only slightly better (1/2 game a year better) than their 6 year total in CUSA from 98-04 which was 9-41.
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...