The football team of the United States Naval Academy – "honor, courage, commitment" – is 5-0.
The football team that represents our country, that is stocked with the best and brightest students , that has players who post-grad will deploy not to the NFL but to defend the nation's values, is undefeated.
Saturday, the Midshipmen play Notre Dame in New Jersey and will try to snap a stubborn 40-year losing streak to the Irish.
No offense to Notre Dame, but you'd have to be a hydrophobe not to root for Navy.
Either that or a Bowl Championship Series executive.
The system set up by the corrupt cartel who controls the money and championship process of college football says a place such as Navy isn't representative of college football at its biggest and best.
In fact Navy represents everything college athletics is supposed to be. The players are bright, determined students. The academic work load and demands of cadet life are rigorous. To gain admission they need nomination from a member of Congress, not a payout from a local booster.
They all have signed on for a tour of duty in our military, which makes playing college football a diversion, an honor to represent their fellow classmates, not a semi-pro internship that could lead to greater riches.
The men and women at our military academies are amazing. Especially now, in this time of war, every last one of us should be thankful we have them.
The crazy pipe dream here is that if Navy can get past the Irish, a schedule opens up that makes a run at 11-0 a real possibility. That's how good the Midshipmen have gotten under exceptional third-year coach Paul Johnson.
This would make for a wonderful story – except to the BCS folks, mainly the big conference commissioners, who would be left trying to explain how an unbeaten Navy team is worthy of nothing more than the Weed Eater Bowl. Or tell us why the perfect Midshipmen could never, ever be considered to play for a national title, let alone in one of those $13 million-plus BCS bowls.
Now that would be a squirm-fest to watch.
If you hate the un-American way in which college football runs itself, if you long for playoffs that would give the little guy at least a chance (a la college hoops), if you are just sick of watching "amateur" athletics abused by profiteers, then you have to become a situational anarchist here.
Power only will be ceded, the system only will topple, if enough embarrassing, indefensible scenarios force it.
Navy could strike a real blow.
Sure Utah and Boise State and Southern Mississippi still could go unbeaten and force the BCS to practice exclusion, but that is only going to do so much. The BCS will screw Utah without blinking an eye.
I want to see them try it with the Midshipmen.
The party line with the BCS is that schools such as Navy, because they don't play in one of six "major" conferences (or in Navy's case any conference), can't be considered big-time because they aren't "committed" enough to college football.
And it is true. Not once has Coach Johnson gone to a fraternity house and threatened undergraduates. When recruiting players Navy doesn't fix grades or even supply prostitutes. Undeclared is not a recognized major. Graduation rates are not in the teens.
Committed? Heck, Navy doesn't even have one committed felon on the roster.
When it comes to commitment, you can't match the SEC and Big Ten, which since 1990 have had its members convicted 32 different times for major NCAA infractions. You know, booster payouts, major academic fraud, point shaving.
And those leagues think letting Navy play in a BCS game would make a mockery of the sport?
Common sense says Navy, with its so-so schedule and good but hardly great team, isn't one of the top six or eight squads in the country. That's understood. But common sense would never run a sport this way.
If Navy could run the table, it would be a most worthy BCS team, a feel-good national phenomenon.
And yet there are 13 million reasons why it never, ever will get invited to a major bowl.
So the BCS suits can have their definition of big-time college football. And I can have mine.
I'll take the program and the players who compete with so much honor. They can have the arrogant, morally bankrupt and money-addicted system that doesn't know the meaning of the word.
- college football
- United States Naval Academy
- Notre Dame