Army-Navy Game No Longer a Rivalry


For the 13th straight time, the Navy Midshipmen knocked off the Army Black Knights Saturday in a 17-10 dual.

The game signified a program that is exactly where it wants to be in Navy and another program very close to reaching that level in Army. The Black Knights should be encouraged for the future.

But for now, the Army-Navy rivalry is officially dead.

That is not a statement that should be taken lightly. But every rivalry has to have at least two of three factors to be legitimate: pure disdain between the two teams, major football implications, and be a competitive series.

With Army-Navy, there is clearly pure disdain. But major implications? Not right now. Unless they start playing for some conference titles, which would require them to join the same conference, they fight to get to a postseason at least some of the time, or they are fighting for a national ranking, this game means nothing in the scope of college football.

In fact, it’s fallen so hard that despite being the last game of the year, most people would rather watch the Heisman Trophy presentation ceremony than this game even though there are no other games on that day.

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So now we’re down to the third one: competitiveness. It should be noted that a long streak alone should not officially determine that a rivalry isn’t competitive. It should also be noted that a heavy series lead by one team shouldn’t determine that. But when both exist at the same time, then there is no choice but to accept it as fact.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if a team trails a series in a rivalry by double-digits AND is in the midst of a double-digit losing streak to the other team, it’s safe to say the competitiveness is gone. By winning on Saturday, Navy took a 10-game lead in the series, 59-49-7, and they are now in the midst of a 13-game winning streak. So officially, this series is not competitive.

Now, with the series not competitive and no national implications in it, how can we call this a rivalry? We can’t. College football tradition is important, it’s crucial, and it’s beautiful. But we are not going to ignore blatant facts simply to preserve tradition.

The Army-Navy game, as of right now, is a rivalry no more. Please, let’s stop hyping it up as the biggest game of the year or the biggest rivalry. It hasn’t been that in at least 50 years.

We appreciate the game because of what it represents about this country. But from a football perspective, it has involved two pretty boring teams with not a lot of skill over the past few decades anyway.

To hype it up in such a big way is a major insult to today’s biggest rivalries that include Alabama-Auburn, TCU-Baylor, and even USC-UCLA now. Oh, and Michigan-Ohio State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Florida-Florida State, and so many others have drawn more interest than that game these past 13 years.

This is not to say the Army-Navy rivalry will never return. Based on our criteria for a rivalry, if Army wins next year, then it is back in business.

But don’t call me until Army wins the game or it actually matters again to college football.

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