This College Football pick focuses on a classic rivalry game which has taken place for over 100 years: Army vs. Navy. The Midshipmen have had 12 consecutive victories. Will History repeat for the 13th time?
Army vs. Navy (-15/58) 3:00 ET CBS (M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore)
This season's improved Army Cadets team has gone 3-2 ATS of late. While the Navy Midshipmen, at 6-5 SU, has accepted a bid to play in the Poinsettia Bowl vs. San Diego St. at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on December 23rd, a 4-7 SU Army team will once again not be attending a post-season party. As such, this makes it Army’s Bowl game. Last year, Navy won this matchup 34-7, as 13 point favorite, outrushing Army 343-157.
Army is an improved team under 1st year HC Monken. Monken is a triple option guru, who coached under Georgia Tech HC Johnson at both Georgia Tech and Navy. Following that experience, Monken headed the highly successful Georgia Southern program before taking the Army job. At Georgia Southern, Monken was 38-16 SU with 3 consecutive FCS Playoff Semi-Final appearances. The 4-7 SU record of the season is the best in 4 years for Army. Continuing in the tradition of option offense, Monken took 9 RS from that side of the ball, led by QB Santiago, and averaged 305/5.4 overland. Again this year, the passing attack was truly anemic, throwing an average of just 9 times per game with 49% completions for an average of 65 YPG. Lack of defense has been just as much of tradition at Army, as their strong ground attack. This year, the Black Knights allowed 35 PPG, 193/5.5 overland and 6.7 YP play. Army enters with the momentum of a 42-31 home win vs. Fordham, outrushing the Rams 382-90. But, the 4-7 ATS log makes the extended 3-year run now 12-21 ATS, including 4-15 ATS away. Expect Army to be sky high for this one against a Navy team, who will not be playing for the CIC Trophy for the first time in a number of years. Air Force defeated both, Army and Navy, this year.
Navy had yet another successful season under 8th year HC Niumatalolo. Playing a schedule that included the likes of Ohio St., Rutgers and Notre Dame, the Middies emerged with a 6-5 SU record. They qualified for their 2014-15 Bowl bid in their final game of the season, when they ran for 388 yards, overcoming 3 lost fumbles for a 42-40 road victory at South Alabama. Led by QB Reynolds, the Middies feature the No. 2 rush offense in the land at 358/6.4. Though they are just as poor against the rush as Army at 200/5.0 YPR, they do have a bit more passing potential with QB Reynolds. The Middies have been a far better traveler than Army, going 8-2 ATS away of late. Though Navy has long covered the NCAA Football odds in this series at 12-5 ATS, they have covered just 2/5 recent games since 2009.
This 15 point impost is the highest number in this series since 2006. With each team facing a similar attack in practice each day, there is a built-in advantage for a double-digit rivalry running dog, who is playing their “Bowl game.” Perhaps the stronger proposition favors the UNDER in a game that has seen these two like-minded opponents fail to reach the posted OVER/UNDER number 8 consecutive years by an average of 14 PPG.
Free College Football Pick: Under 58 at The Greek