Bowl Bound, Admiral Faust

The U.S. Naval Academy’s 74-62 victory over the University of North Texas Nov. 10 guaranteed the Midshipmen their fifth straight bowl game, we hear — and their second in three years at the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

That’s great. Wow. And you’ll probably be seeing Navy again at Qualcomm Stadium in the next few years. The price of admission for the Midshipmen: a winning record. Not a great record. The number in the win column just needs to be greater than that in the loss column, and BAM, Navy is Poinsettia Bowl bound. What a deal.

It has been reported that bowl organizers struck this agreement with the team back in 2005 before the first Poinsettia Bowl, which Navy won in front of a crowd of 36,842. The next year Navy did not play, and attendance was under 30,000. (Oops!)

Coincidence? Maybe not. San Diego is akin to home-field advantage. It’s a huge Navy town home to active duty servicemembers, reservists, and retirees from the surface, subsurface, and aviation communities — and every specialty in between. So why let all those nice people down? Just guarantee Navy a spot if it has a winning record — and guarantee the team $750,000, possibly more.

We get that it’s about the business of college athletics. We also get that teams more deserving might not draw the paying fans that Navy does in San Diego. So, organizers are assured some stability, Navy is assured a bowl berth (and bucks!) if it plays over .500 ball, and San Diego is assured a home team of sorts. A winning combo!

So why do announcements by organizers and Navy seem to tout Navy’s appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl as some major feat?

It might be because they want to downplay this Faustian pact.

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