When conference realignment talk comes up Navy fans tend to switch off. The Mids are after all finally in a conference and while not a Power 5 conference, the AAC has quickly become the most respected conference in the Group of 5.
What though is a bigger conference came calling? Would Navy be interested? Should Navy be interested?
The Big XII cannot seem to decide if it wants to expand of not, but at the moment it seems like that is the way the schools are leaning. Despite its name the Big XII is currently a 10 team conference, and a 10 team conference risks being left behind as the SEC and Pac-12 move ever closer to becoming 16 team super conferences.
A recent article written by Bill Wagner in the Baltimore Sun states that if expansion is to occur then the league would be smart to bring in Navy as one of its extra teams. Here are some of the key points:
On July 19, the Big 12 Board of Directors voted unanimously to allow commissioner Bob Bowlsby to explore models for adding two to four teams as early as the 2017-2018 academic year.
The key here is the concept of adding four teams to the conference. If the Big XII were to add just two teams it seems like there would be options that fit better than Navy. When looking to add four teams, however, the Mids really have to be in the conversation as a possibility.
Navy has compiled a 111-56 (.665) record since 2003, amassing more wins than all but four programs in the Big 12 during that time. The Midshipmen have gone to bowl games 12 of the past 13 years and sold their entire allotment of tickets each time.
This is going to be about money more than anything else. Navy has a track record of selling out big games, especially bowl games. That is more than can be said for the Kansas and Iowa State's of the world. The fact that Navy has a better record than many of the teams that would be up for inclusion (Cincinnati, UConn) is also important.
The Big 12 will no doubt consider the size and scope of television markets and Navy sits midway between two major ones in Baltimore and Washington. The Midshipmen receive considerable media coverage, both locally and nationally.
Again, money talks at this level. Navy is in a much better situation in terms of media market than the likes of Memphis or an ECU. Plus Navy has a draw outside of its market that very few schools in the country can matter. If the Mids were playing Texas or Oklahoma on a weekly basis then that draw would only grow.
The main question mark is whether the Big XII would be willing to add a school as a football only member. The Mids other sports fit well in the Patriot League and uprooting them to the Big XII would be costly and pointless. If the conference is willing to work with a football only school, however, the fit make way more sense than most would expect.