College Football Playoff reveals decision on Army-Navy Game

By Kevin Kelley -

The College Football Playoff will not consider the annual Army-Navy Game in its selection process, according to a report by Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports.

The Army Black Knights are set to join the Navy Midshipmen in the American Athletic Conference this fall, but their annual neutral-site matchup will remain on the second Saturday in December as a non-conference matchup.

The College Football Playoff, however, will make its selections for the new 12-team field six days prior to the Army-Navy Game. That is the day after conference championship games are played and is referred to as Selection Sunday.

From the Yahoo Sports report:

On Wednesday, Day 2 of its annual spring meetings, the CFP Management Committee decided to treat the game as a sort-of exhibition contest. If either Army or Navy wins the American Athletic Conference championship and is the highest-ranked Group of Five champion, that team will advance to the playoff, in all likelihood as the No. 12 seed, despite having another game to play six days later.

Yahoo Sports reported earlier this year that leaders from Army and Navy wanted the College Football Playoff to wait until after the Army-Navy Game to select the No. 12 seed in the playoff, which would cause other issues.

The decision would have triggered a fascinating issue. Waiting a week to name a No. 12 seed would have meant that the No. 5 seed would be tasked with preparing for two opponents and would only learn of its opponent a week before kickoff.

While Army and Navy have not been close to making the College Football Playoff in the four-team format, there is a greater possibility of being selected in the new 12-team format that begins in 2024.

While chances of Army or Navy’s impact on a four-team playoff were slim, the 12-team format gives either program more of an opportunity as it grants automatic berths to the five highest-ranked Group of Five champions in an FBS division now with four power leagues. Stakeholders acknowledge that the chances of Army-Navy impacting the expanded playoff remain distant, but the possibility still exists.

In fact, if the CFP’s 12-team format were used in 2015, Navy would have potentially qualified as the highest-ranked Group of Five team when reflecting realignment shifts that have since happened.

The College Football Playoff Schedule for the 2024 season is slated to begin on Friday, Dec. 20 with one First-Round game, followed by three more First-Round games on Saturday, Dec. 21.

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Comments (11)

There’s got to be a middle ground here. They should play the game on Monday night of the final week of the season (for 2024, final Saturday is Nov. 30, so Army-Navy would be on Mon. Dec. 2). See if the NFL will forego scheduling a regular Monday night game that week since it is Thanksgiving weekend (make it up to ESPN/ABC by giving them more doubleheaders or a Black Friday night game). That way the game can count in the AAC standings, it can factor into playoffs, they are playing their “rival” on rivalry weekend, and the game still maintains a stand-alone presence.

Since the Army-Navy game is already after the AAC championship game, the AAC already decided that the game would always be an out-of-conference match-up. So the only issue with awarding the playoff spot before the game is that if one of the two teams is the AAC champion and the highest ranked group of five and they lose, then the playoff spot rightfully should have gone to another conference champion. Very remote odds of all that happening, but I think it is better to set the playoff field by the first weekend in December, rather than wait for the Army-Navy game results.

Seems like they could have a preliminary playoff field and then reveal a contingency should the result of army/navy matter. Why must the committee make things so difficult?

The Army Navy game is the best, but It’s not like this is some sort of long held tradition to hold the game on the second Saturday of December. I believe 2009 was the first year this started. Easiest thing is to move it to either Thanksgiving or give the game a special status that it can be played Sunday of Week 0 every year. Once you start joining conferences and wanting playoff access you have to give something up.

Or give it an exclusive timeslot on the Saturday, have the start time at 11am if concerns of bleeding over into the rest of the broadcast schedule.

They should just move it to the first Saturday of December. The AAC doesn’t need a championship game anyways.

It should be noted the current Army-Navy broadcast deal with CBS runs through 2028. No mention in the article if the CFP’s consideration of Army-Navy will be revisited post any new broadcast deal for the game.

The Army-Navy game should be moved to week 0 and the first game of the season every year. Simple solution to the issue of the game being contested after conference championships. As the power conferences grow and revert back to divisionless standings, I’ve felt they would expand to a 4-team **conference** playoff which would push the championship games back a week. Yes, that means pushing the CFP playoffs back, but the extra two games (conference semifinals) would be revenue the conferences couldn’t resist. And with players now being paid, any concern about the total number of games played goes out the window.

Logistically it makes alot of sense to play on week 0. But there is something to be said having Army-Navy played in the winter weather and the spectical of games in the snow.

Excellent idea Shawn I would like to see Navy-Army play first game of College Football season.