The Washington Times - April 29, 2009, 03:47PM

Life as a major-college football independent not named Notre Dame isn’t necessarily the easiest thing.

Television access isn’t guaranteed. Bowl access isn’t guaranteed. Scheduling isn’t guaranteed.

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And that’s why little items like today’s announcement Navy has agreed to play in the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl is a reminder of just how clever the Mids’ athletic administration really is.

Locking up bowl tie-ins years in advance is an excellent move for an institution that is going to need the stars to align perfectly to even ponder the thought of a BCS berth. And realistically, if you can’t play for a title, the most important thing is that you’re playing somewhere.

Navy, which has entered recent seasons knowing it will go to Charlotte (2006), San Diego (2007) or the District (2008) if it could collect six wins, now has even greater certainty for the future.

The Mids are signed up with the Texas Bowl in Houston for this fall, and then a return trip to San Diego’s Poinsettia Bowl in 2010. They’ve also agreed to play in the EagleBank Bowl in D.C. in 2011 and now the Fort Worth, Texas-based Armed Forces Bowl in 2013.

It’s probably only a matter of time before Navy finds a home for the 2012 postseason as well. And this is also a school that has a national television deal for all of its home games with CBS College Sports, with its annual games against Notre Dame and Army assured even greater exposure.

None of those bowl berths are guaranteed; Navy, after all, does have to go win at least as many as it loses to maintain those tie-ins. And no one is going to claim Fort Worth is a more desirable destination than, say, Phoenix or Miami.

(Of course, San Diego might be the most desirable destination of the whole bunch, but that’s an argument for another day).

Nothing, however, is perfect. And Navy, ever aware of the significance of sewing up future postseason opportunities, demonstrated again with the Armed Forces Bowl agreement it knows how to make the most of imperfect situation better than just about anyone.

Patrick Stevens