When someone, especially coaches, want to sound tough or send a very particular message, they talk about taking on "anyone, anywhere." It's a wildly popular line in introductory press conferences for new coaches.
After being snubbed out of a bowl game, despite winning 9 games and capturing the Commander in Chief trophy, Army is taking that mindset literally.
Army, who competes as an Independent, was originally (fittingly) guaranteed a spot in the Independence Bowl against a PAC-12 team, but after a number of PAC-12 programs announced they were opting out of Bowl season, the game was canceled.
Since major conferences have guaranteed bowl tie-ins and the NCAA made concessions to their typical protocols of taking teams that finished .500 or above due to COVID, Army was left on the outside looking in when it came to bowl consideration.
Instead, teams like Mississippi State (2-7), South Carolina (2-8) and Tennessee (3-7) got bowl invites. In fact, Mississippi State will play in the Armed Forces Bowl - a game that naturally would have been a prime fit for Army if not for the promised bowl tie-ins.
In a statement shared today, a disappointed Army athletic director Mike Buddie shared the following short statement:
"These young men haven't quit all year and we surely won't quit now. They deserve better. Period.
They have earned an opportunity to get 10 wins and, as we have all year, we will continue to fight to get them that opportunity.
We want to thank all the consitituents at the independence bowl for their invitation and hospitality as we were looking forward to our trip to the city of Shreveport."
Buddie followed up that statement by sharing that they are willing to fill in a bowl spot if needed, and understanding how many cancellations there have been week-to-week, that is certainly a possibility.
"If there are any teams with COVID spikes this week we will be ready to take their spot. Anyone, anywhere," he shared with Brett McMurphy.
Every year it seems like there is an upsetting bowl snub where a deserving team is left out, but leaving Jeff Monken's 9-win squad out just doesn't sit right.
Monken went as far as to share with ESPN that he thinks coaches were dodging a match up with Army because they wouldn't have enough time to prepare for the option.
"The bottom line is there were enough people who kept saying, 'No, we don't want to play Army, we don't want to play Army. I'm sure they don't want to have one week to get ready for the option or whatever, but our players, we've got guys on our team that wouldn't be invited as walk-ons to the teams we're getting ready to play. We've got guys from California, they didn't have a Pac-12 walk-on offer, and they are starting for us."
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.