Navy has been contacted by the Liberty Bowl and it appears likely that the Midshipmen will receive and accept an invitation to the Dec. 30 game in Memphis when bids are tendered officially Saturday.
"Navy is very high on our list," said A.F. (Bud) Dudley, executive director of the Liberty Bowl, who went on to give some impressive reasons for Navy's stature.
Navy is a logical choice for the Memphis game, far more than its 7-3 record would indicate. The Liberty Bowl, after 17 years with ABC, severed its television contract last year and hooked up with Metrosports, a Rockville-based firm that handles Atlantic Coast Conference basketball telecasts.
Accordingly, the Liberty Bowl telecast this year has such varied arrangements as a live feed to Japan, live coverage at every Sheraton hotel throughout the world, cable via the USA network and pay TV on an experimental basis in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Phoenix.
Not many college football teams are recognizeable to folks in Japan and Europe, but a service academy would figure to have wide appeal in those areas, and Navy is the only service academy with a reasonably good football team.
Additional points in Navy's favor are its prestige; the fact that other teams like to play the Midshipmen, with their reputation for sportsmanship, and the Dec. 5 Army game, a contest that promises to be highly rated on national TV with little chance of a Navy defeat and consequent downer for the bowl.
Navy's opponent in the Liberty Bowl is expected to be Iowa, with the possibility of Ohio State replacing the Hawkeyes should Michigan beat Ohio State and Michigan State surprise Iowa.
Navy earlier this week had been rumored as going to either the Holiday Bowl or the Hall of Fame Bowl, and Navy spokesman Tom Bates acknowledged that the academy had been contacted by those organizations, as well as the Liberty Bowl.
But if bowl scuttlebutt has become routine at Annapolis, so has the annual sport of finding another job for Coach George Welsh.
Welsh, who may have turned in his finest season ever this year by guiding the Midshipmen to that 7-3 mark despite an incredible siege of injuries, was in East Rutherford, N.J., yesterday to talk to the New York Football Writers.
Welsh was summoned from the luncheon to take a call from a Durham, N.C., newspaper. The question: was it true that Welsh was in line to replace Red Wilson as the coach at Duke? The answer: "Ridiculous.