Three quick service academy football hits, before everybody gets their hoops fix this evening:
1. Sullivan Award video. As After Action tweeted earlier this week (Hey, let’s all follow that account, could we?), Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez was presented with the James E. Sullivan Award on Tuesday, given to the top amateur athlete in the country. It’s an elite club, with names both historical (Army’s Doc Blanchard) and contemporary (Michael Phelps, Peyton Manning and, yes, this guy). Head here for a West Point-produced behind-the-scenes video of Rodriguez at the awards ceremony.
2. Dowd gets his due. A 3.9 GPA. In mechanical engineering. At the Naval Academy. While anchoring the offensive line. You can’t really put a value on an achievement like that, but that hasn’t stopped Navy senior John Dowd from collecting some scholarship checks. His most recent: A $7,500 NCAA-provided postgraduate grant, one of 29 awarded to top student-athletes. According to a Navy sports release, Dowd also received $18,000 in postgrad cash from the National Football Foundation.
3. Megaconference update. Navy grabbed headlines for its football-only shift to the Big East in 2015, but Air Force will be in a new conference much sooner, when the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA complete their merger. Reports say details of the move — TV contracts, divisions, expansion, a possible in-conference four-team football playoff, scheduling, you name it — could begin to emerge in June or July. As constructed, the MAC/C-USA has 16 football teams spanning five time zones. A Denver Post report says the merger is on track for 2013. And in a testament of the new league’s wingspan, we have writers from West Virginia and California offering their perspective on the deal. Short version for the link-disinclined: (1) It’s about the money, specifically NCAA hoops tournament payouts, and (2) Putting together a 16-team nationwide college football league is a logistical head-scratcher. Air Force fans, get your frequent-flyer plans in order. Or warm up the remote for road games.