With the fate of the 2020 college football season in flux, the only certainty about the season remains the constant uncertainty. With big decisions by Power Five commissioners looming about the sport’s immediate future, the most prepared schools to play football this season remain the three military academies who play FBS football.
Army, Navy and Air Force all essentially operate in a bubble, which affords them what the other 127 FBS schools lack – a controlled environment to prepare for the season.
Each year, Army, Navy and Air Force compete for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which includes a White House invitation. The athletic leadership at those schools expressed to Yahoo Sports this week that they’re confident the three schools will play each other in some form this year as long as they can do it safely, regardless of the larger decisions made around the sport.
“The winner of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, if football does not prevail, will be the national champion,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told Yahoo Sports. He added: “It could be a two-game season [for the three schools]. And we couldn’t be playing for a greater sense of pride and honor. If Army and Navy and Air Force have to carry the day for college football this year, so be it. Tune in.”
While there are likely weeks – and perhaps months – before any decisions on the college football season are finalized, the ambiguity around the season has highlighted just how prepared the military academies are to play this season.
All three are guarded military bases with gates, which eliminates some of the issues of parties and nightlife that their FBS peers are worried about. They have intricate testing polices and are inherently disciplined, as the stakes are higher on the bases than any other campus in America.
“We have three entrances guarded by military police,” Army athletic director Mike Buddie told Yahoo Sports. “We certainly can control our bubble.”