A couple snippets from the EagleBank Bowl, which was fortunate and shed its pre-Christmas date for year two.
The game will move from Dec. 20 to Dec. 29 at 4:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium, a switch made possible in part to a couple other games – the Alamo and Papajohns.com bowls – moving to Jan. 2.
In any case, the EagleBank Bowl will move up a spot in the ACC’s bowl pecking order to No. 8. Army is contracted to serve as the other team, but if the Black Knights don’t become eligible, the bowl announced a deal today with Conference USA to supply a team.
So that’s doubly good news for the game. First of all, the pre-Christmas date conflicted with final exams at some schools last year (hello, Maryland), and the ACC definitely didn’t want to deal with a game with such an early date for the long term.
Having the Conference USA deal is significant on a couple levels. First, Army hasn’t recorded a winning season since 1996, so setting up a backup plan was a pretty smart idea. This could help prevent the need to go trolling for an extra team in the first week of December, and that’s always a plus.
Second, there’s a chance to begin a relationship with another league that could last longer than a season. Having Navy in the first season was important, but there’s no way the Midshipmen are going to give up their traveling postseason show to stay home every year. As a result, there’s a berth that could rotate and devolve into an at-large spot. Perhaps a long-term Conference USA tie-in would solve that concern.