Military Bowl Picks: Pittsburgh Won't Slow Down Navy's Rushing Attack

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 11:52 PM GMT

Pittsburgh takes on Navy in the Military Bowl on Monday, December 28th. Navy is favored by 3 points in Bookmaker's college football odds and the total is set at 56.

College Football Pick: Navy -3 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Pittsburgh vs. Navy (-3) 2:30 ET ESPN
With 40 Bowl games dotting this year’s post-season roster, one must wonder who the people are who are footing the bill for these extravaganzas.  In this case, with Navy hosting the Military Bowl, it is appropriate that Northrop Grumman is sponsoring the event.  For those of you unfamiliar, Northrop Grumman is a major player in global security, headquartered in nearby Falls Church, VA.  They specialize in unmanned cyber security and global aerospace defense.  All who attend this game should feel very secure! 

 

Pittsburgh Panthers
On the field, Pitt will travel to Annapolis to visit Navy who will be playing this game on its home field.  I favor the unique advantage that the Naval Academy has with its option attack, led by one of the nation’s best signal callers.  Pitt enters at 8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS following a season-ending home loss to Miami, FLA by a score of (29-24).  Though the Panthers allowed 29 or more points in 3 of their last 4 games (all at home), this is a solid defense.  Under the guidance of 1st year HC Narduzzi (the former DC at Michigan St.), Pitt allowed just 25/345.  More to the point of this contest, the Panthers allowed just 127/4.1 overland.  Even with 4 weeks to prepare, it is doubtful that they will be well prepared for the option attack.  In a 3 point win vs. the only option team they faced this year (GA Tech), they allowed 28 points.  This year, the Navy option attack is far superior to the GA Tech offense.  Credit to the Pitt offense who survived the pre-season loss of RB Connor (gained 1,765 yards in 2014) to field a representative offensive attack that averaged 26/381!  It is doubtful, however, that they can keep pace with the potent Navy offense, nor have success against one of the best Navy defenses in years, that allows 21/367. 

Must Read: A Brief Primer on Handicapping Bowl Games

Navy Midshipmen
Expect an outstanding home field performance after the Navy offense under achieved in their (21-17) victory against Army on December 12th.  As a 22 point favorite, the Navy option never got fully untracked against an Army defense that is well familiar with its nuances.   This is the last game in a historic CFB career for 4-year Navy starter, QB Reynolds.  With running mate Swain, his bull-dozing fullback to balance the attack, I expect Navy to have their way against an unsuspecting Pitt defense that is ill-prepared for the nuances of the triple option attack.   Though rumored to be in line for the head coaching position at BYU, current Navy HC Niumatalolo (an LDS member whose son is a linebacker for BYU) appears to be the coach for the Naval Academy for this game.

In the final analysis, QB Reynolds and the Navy triple-option simply too much for a Pitt defense to defend for a full 60 minutes.  I invite you to put the college football odds in your favor and join me for my college football pick with Navy in this year’s Military Bowl.