The Western Michigan Broncos have been a terrific story for the state of Michigan and college football in general. WMU has been rowing the proverbial boat all the way to an undefeated regular season and a chance to finish 13-0 heading into bowl season after Friday’s MAC title game against Ohio. Rumor is growing, however, that the rowing Broncos may have their efforts undercut by another Group of Five program; the United States Naval Academy.
ESPN initially wrote an article citing the quandary of the Midshipmen in the grand scheme of the New Year’s Six Bowls. One bowl official was cited in the piece voicing his concern if Navy were to win the American Athletic Conference:
“I don’t want to be un-American,” one bowl official said, “but nearly everyone in the bowl industry, quite frankly, is rooting against Navy.”
That official technically isn’t rooting against Navy, just what happens if Navy wins. That’s because if Navy wins the American and is in contention for the Group of 5 bid in a New Year’s Six bowl, the College Football Playoff selection committee could delay announcing the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion team until Dec. 10 when Navy plays Army, six days after its final rankings are revealed.
The chaos wouldn’t simply affect the Broncos either. The piece breaks down the domino effect of what can happen surrounding the AAC Championship:
A Temple win against Navy on Saturday would eliminate the Midshipmen from Cotton Bowl contention and allow all of the bowl selections to be announced Sunday. If both Western Michigan and Navy win, sources say the rankings will be delayed.
Some say the nightmare scenario actually would be Western Michigan losing the MAC title game and Navy winning the American. Then the committee likely would have to wait for the Army-Navy result because it’s unknown how far Navy would drop in the rankings after a loss to Army. Another Group of 5 champ could potentially pass the Midshipmen, including San Diego State or Wyoming in the Mountain West or Western Kentucky in Conference USA.
The simple way to look at this is a tale of the tape, if you will. We compare the resumé of the Naval Academy with that of Western Michigan.
TALE OF THE TAPE: NAVY vs WESTERN MICHIGAN
|NAVY MIDSHIPMEN||WMU BRONCOS|
|vs. HOU, vs. MEM, vs. TUL||Wins vs. .500+ teams||@NW, @CMU, vs. EMU, vs. TOL|
|@ AFA, @ USF||Key Losses||None|
|7.3 (45th)||ESPN FPI||13.8 (23rd)|
|59th||Strength of Schedule||86th|
Football Power Index taken from ESPN’s official site.
Strength of Schedule taken from teamrankings.com schedule algorithm.