Army heads to Liberty Bowl, but it shouldn't have been any game's backup plan

Written By Jacob Hancock
Army football logo-092620-GETTY-FTR
(Getty Images)

Army's football team was wrongly left out of a bowl game Sunday when the matchups were announced, but organizers of the Liberty Bowl helped to rectify that injustice Monday evening by turning to the Black Knights to save their game.

The 9-2 squad was excluded from a bowl game while five SEC teams with losing records received bids thanks to the conference's bowl affiliations. In the end, it was one of those SEC losers — Tennessee (3-6) — that opened the door for Army; the Vols dropped out of the Liberty Bowl on Monday afternoon because of COVID-19.

Tennessee announced on Twitter that it was postponing team activities and ending its 2020 season. ESPN reported head coach Jeremy Pruitt, assistant coaches and multiple players tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving the Volunteers unable to play in the Dec. 31 contest in Memphis against West Virginia (5-4) of the Big 12.

BOWL SCHEDULE: Dates, times, TV channels for every FBS game in 2020-21

Sources told ESPN that Army and Mississippi State (3-7) were the top two candidates to replace Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl. The Black Knights rightfully got the call over the Bulldogs.

Army players were screwed out of a trip to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., a game to which they had a contractual tie-in, because multiple Pac-12 schools opted out of playing in bowl games, which left the Black Knights without an opponent.

Rewarding the Military Academy's team for a fantastic season with a trip to Memphis — a much more favorable destination than Shreveport — is a great gesture that fans across the country will appreciate. It's just a shame that it took the head coach of a mediocre football team getting COVID-19 to give them that opportunity.

 

 

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