NCAAF Odds Preview and Predictions: Army-Navy
The first thing that’s always been odd about this game is the timing. This comes a week after the NCAAF odds conference championships (and after the last regular-season action in the Big 12). If Navy had been in contention for a CFP spot, as it looked like they might be, the CFP made a statement giving them the authority to adjust the standings on the outcome of this game. It’s one of the most storied rivalries in all of college football, although neither Army nor Navy is usually enough of a power to make the game of interest to fans who aren’t graduates of the service academies.
— NCAA Football (@NCAAFootball) December 9, 2015
This year, Navy comes in with the #21 ranking in the nation. They have won 13 straight games in this series, and Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds has a chance to post the first 4-0 record by a starting quarterback in the long history of this rivalry. In the 13 games since 2001, Navy has outscored the Black Knights by a combined 417-142. Navy comes in with a 9-2 record, while Army is 2-9, having lost four games in a row. They are winding up their 18th losing season in 19 years. As Army coach Jeff Monken (an assistant at Navy from 2002-07) puts it, “This football team has never lost to Navy and that is the way we have to approach it.” Reynolds has tied the FBS record for career touchdowns with 83 and just needs one more to tie Terrance West (Towson St.) and Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern) for the Division I record. He only needs 65 more rushing yards to enter third place on the NCAA all-time list for quarterbacks. He also just missed out on being listed as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. In his career, he has run for five touchdowns and thrown one more against Army. When he was a plebe in 2012, his eight-yard rumble for a score gave Navy a 17-13 win. In 2013, he ran for 136 yards and three touchdowns as Navy brought a 34-7 whipping. The 2014 meeting was much closer, as Reynolds banged it in from a yard out in the fourth quarter to eke out a 17-10 win. Navy will reclaim the Commander in Chief’s trophy for sweeping service academy games with a win. Currently, Air Force holds it. Navy and Army both run the triple option, which means they are both more skilled at stopping it than some other teams.
Navy is coming off a 52-31 shellacking at then-#21 Houston on November 27, which kept them out of the American Athletic Conference this past Saturday. However, they will host Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl on December 28. I would pick Navy to keep this streak alive, as Army simply lacks the talent to stop the Midshipmen.