SB Nation dropped their first bowl projections for the 2016 season in late June via writer Jason Kirk. The first thing to note is that Kirk has Navy getting to the required win total to be bowl eligible (sex games) and that as a result of the Mids current contract they are slotted straight into the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas.
The interesting part here then isn’t so much where Navy has appeared in the bowl breakdown, but rather who Kirk sees the Mids as facing. The Armed Forces bowl contract sees a AAC team (always Navy if they are Bowl Eligible and not in the College Football Playoff) taking on a Big XII school. This makes a ton of sense given the location of the bowl in north-central Texas. Kirk though believes that the Big XII will not have enough bowl eligible teams to fulfill its quota at the end of the 2016 season and therefore he has the Mids taking on an at-large school in Washington State.
Obviously projecting bowls right now is almost impossible. It is early July and who knows what will happen between now and the start of the season in terms of injuries, suspensions and potential transfers. Even since this piece was released we have had a major injury as Georgia running back Sony Michel broke his arm to leave the Bulldogs with a stunningly talented, and stunningly injured, offensive backfield.
Playing Washington State would certainly present a fresh match up for the Mids. The Cougars have been around since 1894, but the two schools have never crossed paths which would make for an intriguing storyline in a bowl season that seems to be full of the same teams playing each other thanks to the sheer number of bowls out there.
It would also mean that the Mids had been bowling 13 times in the last 14 years. Given that Navy is returning just one starter on offense making a bowl game in 2016 would be a true sign that the program is healthy and moving the right direction under Ken Niumatalolo.