Because the Big 12 will produce only six bowl-eligible teams, officials at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl are preparing to scramble to fill a vacancy in their Dec. 23 game in Fort Worth.
The contest is slated to get the seventh choice among league teams but will have to turn elsewhere to fill one of its slots when the matchup is finalized Sunday. In addition, the contest might lose No. 20 Navy (9-2) as a participant if the Midshipmen defeat Temple (9-3) in this week’s American Athletic Conference championship game while No. 13 Western Michigan (12-0) falls to Ohio (8-4) in the MAC title game.
That combination of results, based on bowl agreements and an anticipated rise by the Midshipmen in the College Football Playoff rankings, could push Navy into the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Jan. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
In an ironic twist, the Armed Forces Bowl could wind up with a local connection because of a national shortfall of bowl-eligible teams for a second consecutive season. That will force the NCAA to allow postseason exemptions for selected 5-7 teams, with preference given to programs with the highest Academic Progress Rate (APR). Teams that could earn bowl berths through that process include North Texas, Texas, Texas Tech and Mississippi State. The contest will be played Dec. 23 at Amon G. Carter Stadium.