Army’s football team was unjustly left out of a bowl game Sunday when the matchups were announced. The 9-2 Black Knights were excluded while five SEC teams with losing records received bids to play in bowl games thanks to the conference’s bowl affiliations.
Now, the organizers of the Liberty Bowl have a chance to correct that injustice after one of those SEC losers, 3-6 Tennessee, pulled out of the game Monday because of COVID-19.
The Vols announced on Twitter that they were postponing team activites and ending their 2020 season. ESPN reported head coach Jeremy Pruitt, assistant coaches and multiple players have tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving the Volunteers unable to play in the Dec. 31 contest in Memphis against West Virginia (5-4) of the Big 12.
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Tennessee said in a statement that it is “disappointed it will not be able to fulfill its commitment on New Year’s Eve.” Sources told ESPN that Army and Mississippi State (3-7) are the top two candidates to replace Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl.
The Bulldogs will likely be the first choice because of the SEC’s tie-in with the bowl game, but the Black Knights should get the call. They were screwed out of a trip to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., a game to which they had a contractual tie-in, because multiple Pac-12 schools opted out of playing in bowl games, which left Army without an opponent.
Rewarding the Military Academy’s team for a fantastic season with a trip to Memphis — a much more favorable destination than Shreveport — would be a great gesture that fans across the country would appreciate.