Navy could have an edge in their Commander-in-Chief matchup at Air Force on Saturday with the Falcons of the Mountain West being in a rather tough scheduling spot.
The road favorite could have the edge in a Commander-in-Chief battle Saturday afternoon when the Navy Midshipmen (2-3, 2-3 ATS) pay a visit to the Air Force Falcons (3-1, 2-2 ATS) at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, CO at 3:30 ET in a game televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The posted line at Pinnacle Sports is Navy -4½ at current odds of -106.
Coming off Upset of Boise State
Yes, a 2-3 team is a road favorite over a 3-1 team here, but that becomes easier to understand when looking at the scheduling situation of this college football pick. It is also interesting that Navy is 2-0 on the road thus far and 0-2 at home, with the other loss being on a neutral field vs. Ohio State.
But the key to this contest could be Air Force coming off of a 28-14 upset of the Boise State Broncos as here at home as 13-point underdogs, much to our delight as we had the Falcons as one of our plays. However, that win plus being in the Mountain West Conference in the first place could put Air Force in a very bad spot here.
Mountain West Conference Sandwich
You see, of the three military teams that battle for the Commander-in-Chief Trophy every year, Air Force is the only academy affiliated with a conference while Navy and Army are both independents. So while the Falcons would naturally like to win that trophy, in the whole scheme of this is in reality just a non-conference game in the middle of their conference schedule, and the placing of this game this year could really leave the Falcons less motivated.
That is because this is a sandwich game between the big upset of Boise State last week and a big Mountain West game at Utah State next week, and there is not even a bye week in between. Thus, all the Commander-in-Chief stuff aside, we have to question just how much energy Air Force will bring to this contest.
As for matters on the field, Air Force has a run oriented offense as usual with its triple option, and it ranks sixth in the country in rushing with 323 yards per game on the ground on 5.2 yards per carry.
Circled on Calendar
However, this is one game where the Falcons will not have the edge running the football because Navy runs the identical triple option and he been doing it better, ranking second in the nation with 358.4 rushing yards per game while averaging an obscene 6.4 yards per carry! The Midshipmen even rushed for 370 yards on 5.9 yards per rush vs. Ohio State, so they have already proven themselves vs. stiffer competition regardless of their 2-3 record.
But perhaps more importantly, while this is a non-conference game for Air Force, it is one of the few games that Navy actually circled on its calendar along with the traditional season finale vs. Army, so this game probably means a lot more to an independent team like the Naval Academy. And the Middies also have a quarterback in Keenan Reynolds that is not incompetent throwing the football when need be.
That could set Navy up for some big plays via play-action vs. an Air Force defense ranked 123rd in the country defending the pass, yielding 316.5 yards per game on 7.5 yards per pass attempt.
No Fear in Colorado Springs
Finally, whether it is because Navy always takes these games more seriously or not, the Midshipmen are now 10-1 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head meetings overall including a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five visits here to Air Force.
With all of this in mind, look for a rather handy Navy victory at the Air Force on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Navy -4½ (-106)