For the next for seasons at least, and presumable many more after that, the final College Football Playoff rankings will be unveiled the week BEFORE the Army-Navy game captivates the nation. In 2015 the Playoff selection committee is scheduled to release its final rankings on Dec. 6. This date was chosen because it is the day after many of the FBS conferences hold their Championship games. At this point every school in the nation will have concluded their regular season schedule except for two: Army and Navy.
Previously the fact this this game stood alone wasn’t a big deal. As Independents either Army or Navy would have had to have a higher end of season ranking than all other Independents and any non-Power Five FBS school. As such Army and Navy had generally fulfilled their bowl criteria, usually a single tie-in game, before they played each other, with no national level implications at stake.
This fall however Navy is joining the American Athletic Conference. This puts the Mids on the same level with everyone else in the Group of Five and, perhaps more importantly, puts them in a conference which is highly winnable from this fall onward. This is not the SEC that Navy is about to join, it is a conference full of teams who the Midshipmen can beat. Hence the sudden realization that something is going to have to give.
"We have no intention of moving it. None," Navy athletics director Chet Gladchuk told USA TODAY Sports. "It would show that we've realigned our priorities in a way that doesn't complement our mission. We can't do it. It's something that's that special. If it means that we've got to sacrifice the opportunity to participate in the playoff system, then that's something we'll have to deal with. We'll have to work on that."
With a 10-year broadcast deal running through 2018 with CBS, it is not clear if the game could be moved even if the powers that be wanted it to be. It is a very unique situation because the game really does warrant the spotlight of a game day where it is out on its own. How that can be done while giving these two schools a chance to compete in the College Football Playoff is still to be determined.
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Army and Navy versus the College Playoff
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