My Nerves and This Rivalry Needs a Blowout

The average margin of victory in the Navy-Air Force series in the past eight years is a mere five points with the largest spread coming in a 31-20 win by the Mids in 2009. Both fan bases and their nerves would probably agree that it's time for this game to be decided well before the last few minutes.

I hate close games. As a 1997 graduate of the Naval Academy, I had to live through four of the most awful Army-Navy games in that series' history. I saw ‘awful' because each of my four years in Annapolis (93-96 seasons)included heartbreaking loses on the gridiron to the Cadets. That's four years of chanting, "I believe that we will win" towards the end of the contest, only to come to realize that the unbelievable was about to happen. Throw in a few close calls against Notre Dame in the mid-90s and it's fair to say that I had my share of tums during Navy football games.

That's why I believe that there is nothing more appealing than a good old fashion blowout. Everybody should like them. Just think of the advantages of either attending or watching a game on television when the contest is settled way before the three-hour mark. You get to step away from the game to go to the bathroom if you need to. Or perhaps even fill up your empty souvenir cup with more beverages of your choice. If things really get out of hand, you can leave the game early and beat the traffic. Or if you are at home, you can spend more time with the family who you usually ignore during weekends in the fall.

All of the aforementioned advantages however pale in comparison to the physical perks of a good blowout. Even if you are on the wrong side of the debacle, your stomach should be relatively relaxed. And after a few times of screaming at your players and coaches, once things are out-of-hand, you start posting things on GoMids.com like, "It just wasn't our day" or "We'll move on and learn from this" and all is well. You can easily come to terms with a staggering loss. It's those close ones that really make you grind your teeth…blame a phantom ‘chop block' penalty…focus in on one player's mistake…second guess a play call…etc…

This brings me back to the Air Force-Navy series which has brought fans from both sides to the edge of their seats for the better part of the past eight years. Only once in that span was the game decided before the final drive. And while that may make the local pharmacies in Annapolis and Colorado Springs thankful they stocked up on extra Pepto Bismol in early October, it drives the diehard fans crazy.

A brief check at the weather shows that Mother Nature has decided to start the fall season in grand fashion on Saturday in Annapolis. The weather (which has been hot and muggy) is forecasted to be only in the upper 50's with some rain and a stiff breeze. This will of course mean that hanging onto the ball may be somewhat of an issue. In a rivalry that has had its share of turnovers in the recent past, there haven't been enough on one side or the other to make it a stomach-pleasing blowout.

So what do you say Navy and Air Force? How about a good old fashion butt-whipping this Saturday? I'm thinking something on the order of 38-10 would be nice. Of course all signs point to anything but a mismatch with both teams once again coming into the contest as evenly matched as ever. But really, wouldn't it be nice that if once the fourth quarter rolls around, Navy fans are yawning and wondering what's for dinner?

So far my first season of predicting the outcome of Navy games has been average at best. I thought the Mids would lose to Delaware, beat Western Kentucky, and get whipped by South Carolina. I'd really like to just stop with the predictions already, but now that I have gone down that road, I'll keep trucking along.

Here's to a blowout that will have the plebes enjoying a nice night of liberty in Annapolis.

Navy 35, Air Force 17.

I'll be bringing the tums to Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, though, just in case.

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