Uncertainty remains for Navy over New Year's Six bowls, Army game

IRVING, Texas -- No decision was reached Wednesday by the College Football Playoff commissioners on whether Navy would remain eligible for the New Year's Six bowl games after two days of meetings at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas.

"We had a robust discussion," College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said. "We need more discussion."

Some commissioners are concerned over a scenario in which Navy -- which will enter into the American Athletic Conference this fall -- is ranked high enough to earn one of the New Year's Six bowl bids and then the following week loses to Army or posts an unimpressive victory.

As the current policy dictates -- as did the BCS rankings system -- that game result would not count toward Navy's final ranking, penalizing other teams that would have earned a New Year's Six bowl bid if the game was factored in.

The College Football Playoff policy states the rankings compiled by the committee on selection day (Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015) will be the final version for purposes of identifying the teams in the playoff.

The highest-ranked champion from the Group of Five conferences (AAC, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) receives a bid to either the Peach or Fiesta bowls this season.

One option presented by AAC commissioner Mike Aresco is if Navy was the AAC champion and lost to Army, then the next highest Group of Five team would simply swap bowl spots with Navy, sources said.

However, that could be problematic for a number of reasons. Not only would it impact Navy put would delay two bowls from selling tickets to two fans bases until Dec. 12 with the bowl season beginning on Dec. 19.

Sources said some of the commissioners believe any teams that play after the final rankings are released should be ineligible from playing in one of College Football Playoff's six bowl games.

Hancock said if the management committee makes any changes involving the playoff it is determined as a "consensus."

"There is not a vote, Hancock said.

Aresco, whose conference will hold a league title game for the first time this year, has been lobbying for support from the other commissioners.

The Navy-Army contract with CBS has four years remaining through the 2018 season, requiring the game to be played on the second Saturday in December.

Last month Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told ESPN moving the Navy-Army game to another date is not an option.

"It needs to be a stand-alone game," Gladchuk said. "That game has become a focal point for America. It's just a wonderful event, an opportunity to showcase what America is all about.

"I'm hopeful [the committee] will find a solution and I'm confident they will."

The College Football Playoff final rankings are released on the Sunday following the first Saturday in December. Moving the rankings back another week would delay the other 30-something bowl pairings, putting an even-greater hardship on fan bases traveling to bowls.