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SEC Announces Army, Other Independents To Be Considered "Power 5" Opponents

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Yesterday, the SEC announced that Army would be considered a Power 5 opponent in order to meet their new schedule requirements. Hello big world!

SEC teams will now look to Army to fulfil their out-of-conference requirements.
SEC teams will now look to Army to fulfil their out-of-conference requirements.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Well Underdog Dynasty, it's be a good run. With the SEC now viewing us as a Power 5 opponent, I guess there's nothing to do but shake hands and move on into the spotlight.

Oh wait, we're still here? Guess I will just try to sort out what this exactly means for the Black Knights.

The announcement from the SEC stated that starting in the 2015 season, Notre Dame, BYU, and Army will count as Power 5 teams, as they will be considered 'Independents'. Navy, which was an Independent for the 2014 season, will be joining the American Athletic Conference in football only for the 2015 season. The SEC has decided that each of their teams must play at least one opponent from a Power 5 conference each season.

The Power 5 conferences are the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, and the SEC (in theory an SEC team like LSU could schedule a game against Missouri as long as those teams are not scheduled to play an SEC game that year, not likely to happen). By allowing their members to call the Independents a Power 5 'conference', teams can now schedule Notre Dame, BYU, and Army, who all have very open schedules due to no real conference affiliation, traditional rivalry game weekends excluded.

Notre Dame, who has been a football Independent and claims will never join a conference (making too much money from TV deals to warrant joining a conference) has already agreed to play 5 ACC opponents a year, which makes sense given that all their other sports except ice hockey are in the ACC.

While they already have a full schedule for 2015 and 2016 season, they only have their 5 ACC opponents scheduled for 2017. This also allows the SEC to gain a little more national exposure (because they don't have enough already) as all Notre Dame games are broadcast on NBC and the Fighting Irish, despite recent struggles, remain a household name (they did beat LSU in the Music Bowl this year).

BYU has 12 games scheduled for this season so far, including Missouri. They have agreed in terms with LSU for a one-off game in Houston in 2017, and currently have 4 openings in their 2016 schedule. BYU is a team that many have linked to joining the Big 12, especially after the Big 12 gambled and lost out on getting both TCU and Baylor into the College Football Playoff by declaring them both co-champs. BYU is also a high-octane offense with a very passionate fan base that would once again bring more exposure to the SEC out west.

Now, why would teams look to schedule Army? They too have a full schedule for 2015, but have 6 openings in their 2016 schedule and 8 in 2018, with no SEC opponents set. Army is unquestionably the least talented of the 3 teams, but that might not be the only reason teams may start looking to play the Black Knights.

Army runs a triple option offense and many larger programs have adapted the spread offense which utilizes many read options. Teams like LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas, who all run traditional offenses, may look to schedule Army before they play teams like Auburn, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State as a tune up for tempo option attacks.

Army is also a very well-disciplined team that, while they may not match up physically with bigger schools, will likely play smarter and take away some of the advantage better athletes may have. This will force opposing coaching staffs to coach up their players mentally and play smarter football.

Knowing that Army may struggle against most SEC teams, why would they choose to play against the vaunted SEC?

Three words: money, money, money.

The SEC, along with other Power 5 schools, are notorious for throwing huge sums of money for smaller schools to come in and play. While Army is not like other smaller programs who are hurting for money, a little extra cash could be used to upgrade facilities or dispersed to other departments on campus. Plus an upset here or close game there could really help recruiting and improving the brand that is Army football.