North Texas AD Wren Baker announced that the Mean Green's series with Army, two remaining games in 2018 and '19, have been canceled and replaced in part by the new series with Liberty. In and of itself the series cancelation isn't big news, however Baker's reason for canceling the series raised eyebrows.
According to Baker: "The Army series is difficult on your team. Every defensive coach in the country would tell you preparing for the triple-option gets you out of your regular plan. Then you have to adjust the next week and go back to what you regularly do. You also tend to rack up some injuries. We like playing Army, but we felt we could get more out of playing other teams."
We would agree that preparing for an option team as opposed to a spread or more conventional team is certainly different, but the statement seems defeatist in nature. Yes, preparing for an option team is hard, but twelve teams prepare for Army every year and this is the first time such an excuse has been publicly given for cancelling a series.
Maybe the better course of action is to drop the series if you must, but don't include that quote in your reason for dropping it. Just say you're moving in a different direction from a scheduling perspective and while North Texas has the utmost respect for West Point and the values it upholds, at this time you are making changes to your schedule that will benefit the North Texas program long term. There, I just wrote the press release and I didn't once mention that the option is hard.
Adding to the curious nature of the announcement is the replacement series with Liberty, an FCS team that is moving up into the FBS in the coming years. The message seems to be "We'd like an easier schedule." While that may be the truth, that's not the message you want to literally send out. If the goal is to get better competition at Apogee stadium, this move doesn't get North Texas closer to accomplishing that goal.