Army Coach Vents After I-Bowl Cancellation
Army Head Football Coach Jeff Monken was more than a little upset following the Sunday announcement of the cancellation of this year's Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl. Monken's 9-2 Cadets were left out of this year's bowl picture because of the school's commitment to play in the Shreveport post-season contest.
Monken, in his seventh year heading the Black Knights' program, expected an opponent to be named during Sunday afternoon's bowl schedule announcements, but none came.
In an ESPN story the coach is quoted as saying, "OK, we should know something by 2:30, but 2:30 came and went. We should know something by 3 o'clock,, but 3 o'clock came and went. And then we started getting word that we were getting shut out."
By "shut out," Monken was referring to a perfect storm of too many games and not enough teams to play in them. Because of fifty teams opting out of bowl competition, The Shreveport game and Army found themselves out in the cold.
Army already had an agreement in place to play in the I-Bowl this year, then again in 2022 and 2024, assuming they were bowl eligible.
Monken anxiety began to rise when teams from the Pac-12 - also committed to the Shreveport game -opted out of post-season play last week.
Again, from ESPN: "The bottom line is there were enough people who kept saying, 'No, we don't want to play Army, we don't want to play Army,' Monken said."
.And via ESPN, Monken's berating of the western schools was just beginning."USC, a week ago, was saying, 'We deserve to be in the College Football Playoff if we go undefeated and win the Pac-12 championship.' So they go to the Pac-12 championship against Oregon and lose and they go from wanting to go to the College Football Playoff to not wanting to play at all? I don't get it. You couldn't go one more week and play us? It just doesn't make any sense to me that you can go from wanting to play to not wanting to play in a matter of 12 hours."
Monken then said that his team had requested to stay on campus and continue their practice schedule, just in case. The coach said he and his team will be ready in case another bowl-bound falls victim to COVID 19 and someone needs a lat minute replacement.
The coach also emphasized that he has no hard feelings toward the I-Bowl or Shreveport. "They worked hard. They were in tears," he told ESPN, "They wanted to have this bowl game and they wanted to host us and they tried to get an opponent, and people kept turning them down."