Five Sort of Bold Predictions for 2011

Here are five not so bold predictions for the 2011 football season. The predictions concern new blocking rules, the Mids quarterback position, Navy's final record, an Army game, and Navy's big game with Air Force.

Kriss Proctor won't play every snap

 

Sure I decided to be real bold right out of the gate considering that no number one quarterback at Navy has taken every snap in a single season during the triple option era. Proctor will get banged up just by the nature of his job and someone will be called upon, probably in a critical juncture, to lead Navy's offense. And it's never a good thing to not hear a peep in the offseason about the back-up quarterback in Annapolis. Navy fans LOVE the back-up quarterback and for good reason…Navy has been blessed with a plethora of capable ones. Just look at this list: Candeto had Polanco; Polanco had Owens; Owens had Hampton; Kaipo had Bryant (two seasons); and Dobbs had Proctor (two seasons).

 

Who does Proctor have backing him up? Welcome to the big leagues Trey Miller and Jarvis Cummings. Neither of you have taken a snap in a Division I game. That will change this season. Navy fans promise to embrace you as long as you don't fumble, gain more than 5 yards on your first carry, and throw a spiral.

 

Seven Wins Would be a Very Good Season for Navy

 

The last time Navy won less than eight games was in 2002. If someone handed Navy fans a 7-5 season right now, they should take it and run. I'm not really fond of specific win-loss predictions, but I only see three solid, for sure, no doubt about it wins on the schedule: Western Kentucky, Troy, and San Jose State. That means Proctor, Teich and the most inexperienced defense in Buddy Green's tenure is going to have to find four more wins somewhere to just get to seven. It would be great if Navy could just invert the schedule and start off with Army, San Jose State, SMU, and Troy instead of Delaware, Western Kentucky, South Carolina, and Air Force. But this team is going to have to grow up quickly because a Georgia Southern-like performance will not cut it against Delaware. And after the Hens and Hilltoppers, Navy may not be a clear favorite again until November.

 

Air Force Will Be Ranked When They Visit Annapolis

 

I know, finally a bold prediction. I think after squeaking by Baylor in their opener, TCU will lose to Air Force in Colorado Springs which means the Falcons could be unbeaten and ranked as they head to the state of Maryland on October 1. Couple that with the very real potential that Navy could lose to Delaware and the odds makers will have Air Force as a 14-point favorite. Ok, maybe not that much, but the Mids could surely be a significant underdog. At least after the South Carolina match-up, Navy will have two weeks to prepare hear about how they lost last time out to their arch-enemy, Air Force. Of course how sweet would it be if Navy knocks off two ranked opponents in a row and is 4-0 themselves headed into week five? Not going to happen – see my previous bold prediction…but that would be nice…ok, it's not going to happen.

 

Army Will Beat Fordham

 

After going out on a bit of a limb with my previous prediction, I decided to wander back into my safety zone by saying that the Black Knights will beat the Fordham Rams at home on October 29. And that's about all I think is safe to say about Army's season. Graduation took a huge toll on both lines as well as with their biggest defensive playmakers. That will put a ton of pressure on Trent Steelman and Jarred Hassin to light up the scoreboard…something that hasn't been easy for Army. They have scored more than 30 points, six times in the last five seasons. Three of those games came last season, so there is reason for optimism. However an opening stretch against Northern Illinois, San Diego State, and Northwestern is a tough slate for a team with a lot of new parts. And then Army goes on the road for three of its next four games. They could easily be 2-5 when Fordham comes to town. A win in any of their first three games would be a huge boost to any bowl hopes they might have.

 

New Blocking Rules Will Have an Impact on Service Academies

 

Definitely a missed opportunity at media day – I should have asked Coach Niumatalolo about the new rules. Hopefully I will get a chance later this week. I've read them over here. The important part states:

Beginning this coming season, blocking below the waist will be illegal except on scrimmage plays in the following instances:

Wide receivers more than seven yards from the center at the snap of the ball can block below the waist only against a player facing him or toward the nearest sideline.

Running backs/receivers in the backfield and outside the tackle box (the area five yards on either side of the center) or players in motion can block below the waist only on players facing them or toward the nearest sideline.

Players on the line of scrimmage within seven yards of the center are still allowed to block below the waist anywhere on the field.

Previously, officials had to determine where a player started at the snap or, in the case of wide receivers, how far down the field the receiver was to determine whether the block below the waist was legal.

I'm willing to bet that every one of Navy's opponents will be in the officials' ears prior to each game with their own interpretation of this new rule. And no matter whether or not Navy, Army, and Air Force follow the new regulation exactly, there will still be penalties against them that haven't been called before because of this change. It could turn out to be a whole new category of phantom calls – just like some of those mysterious chop-block calls that have been drive killers for the Mids.

 


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