Next weekend, bowl season will be underway in earnest in the world of college football. Sure, we could talk a bit about the North Dakota State University Bison continuing their pursuit of a sixth consecutive FCS Championship this afternoon against the team that handed them their lone loss this season, South Dakota State University, but today is truly about one particular game.
Army vs. Navy.
This is the 117th meeting between these two teams, and the Midshipmen are currently riding the longest winning streak in the history of this rivalry. They’ve beaten the Black Knights fourteen straight times, and as a result now hold a lead in the all-time series of 60-49-7. The last time Army defeated Navy was back in 2001, as they managed a 26-17 victory at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Since then, this game has been played in four different stadiums (Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, FedEx Field in Washington, DC, and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore), but the Middies have come out victorious wherever the game was held.
If you're looking for high-flying offenses and non-stop action, this is probably not the game for you. Navy was ranked #124 (out of 128) teams in FBS in passing, as they threw for a collective 1,546 yards. They only attempted 136 passes this season. Still, that makes them look like a run-and-shoot outfit compared to Army, who was dead last in FBS in passing. They threw only 115 passes this season, completing less than half of them (43.5%, to be precise), and threw for just 886 yards.
On the other hand, if you're looking for power running and smashmouth football, you're in the right place, as these two teams are both in the top 4 in rushing in America. These two teams average. . .average. . .328 yards rushing per game. We fans of the Minnesota Vikings refer to 328 rushing yards as "a solid month." These two teams get that much in 60 minutes of football. Navy is the second-ranked rushing offense in America, and they've totaled 54 rushing touchdowns. Army checks in as the fourth-ranked rushing offense in college football, and they've found the end zone 37 times via the ground.
This will be the final game of the 2016 college football regular season, and it will also be the final game called by legendary play-by-play man Verne Lundquist. He’s been the voice of college football on CBS for quite a few years now, and today will be his final broadcast.
Both of these teams will be headed to bowl games this season. Navy, after missing an opportunity to possibly sneak into the Cotton Bowl with last week’s loss to Temple, will be heading to the Armed Forces Bowl in Forth Worth, Texas, on 23 December to take on Louisiana Tech. Army, on the other hand, will be heading to the Cotton Bowl. . .not the Cotton Bowl, but the stadium of the same name. . .to take on North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on 27 December.
Kickoff for this one is scheduled for 2:00 PM Central time, and once again will be shown on CBS. If you're going to be taking this one in, or even if you want to talk about the FCS playoffs, you can do so right here. Enjoy the game, folks!