Navy has already accepted an invitation to play Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Army needs a win over Navy to guarantee a spot against Temple in the EagleBank Bowl.
But forget all that. When the rival service academies meet Saturday at Philadelphia’s “Linc,” there’s only one game that matters: Army vs. Navy.
“It’s a big morale booster for our troops when we win,” Army senior Victor Ugenyi said. “War is a long grind, it’s chaos ... Anything to take your mind off what’s happening. [The game] lifts your spirits.”
What’s happening is that President Barack Obama is sending an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Ugenyi said he’s a few years removed from actual deployment, but the thought still weighs heavy on his mind. Others, like Navy senior Ross Pospisil, have sat and watched former teammates go overseas. He still remembers when Greg Veteto, a former punter for the Mids, was deployed.
“That kind of hits home, when you got guys in the same locker room as you that are now deployed around the world,” Pospisil said.
Navy senior Osei Asante said sometimes it’s hard escaping war’s harsh reality and what the future holds.
“It definitely plays a role in the back of your mind because in 6, 7 short months, we’re going to be out there,” Asante said.