The army football team was unfairly excluded from a bowling match on Sunday when the clashes were announced. The 9-2 Black Knights were shut out while five SEC teams with losing records received offers to play in bowl games through conference affiliations.
Now, Liberty Bowl organizers have a chance to correct this injustice after one of those SEC losers, 3-6 Tennessee, pulled out of the game on Monday due to COVID-19.
Flights announced on Twitter that they were postponing team activities and ending their 2020 season. ESPN reported that head coach Jeremy Pruitt, assistant coaches and several players have tested positive for 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 it was “disappointed not to be able to honor its commitment on New Years Eve.” Sources told ESPN that the 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 due to the SEC’s connection to the bowl game, but the Black Knights should receive the call. They were screwed from a trip to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, a game they were contractually linked to, as several Pac-12 schools have chosen not to play bowl games, who left the army without an adversary.
Rewarding the Military Academy team for a fantastic season with a trip to Memphis – a much more favorable destination than Shreveport – would be a big gesture that fans across the country would appreciate.