Game 9 of 12 – Navy vs. Florida Atlantic

With the countdown to kickoff getting ever closer it is time to take an early look at each game on the Navy schedule in 2012. Instead of taking the game chronologically (no one has any creativity any more) we are going to look at the games in order of their importance to the season. It is time for the 9th most important game on the Navy schedule, the November 3rd hosting of Florida Atlantic.

Importance Level

This home game with the FAU Owls is one that the Mids should win. The reason it is this low on the importance scale is purely the quality of the opposition. In the Athlon Sports preseason rankings Florida Atlantic is 120th out of 124 teams. This gives them the lowest ranking of any school which was playing at the FBS level in 2011. Basically there is nothing more to say than that.

Navy's Keys to Winning

The key to winning for Navy in this game could be as simple as scoring more than seven points. In 2011 the FAU offense was more inept than any other in the country and at times the level was historically bad. In six of their 11 losses the Owls scored seven points or less, and there were zero teams in the country who gained less total yards. Add the fact that all time career rushing leader Alfred Morris (graduation) and talented fullback Xavier Stinson (Dismissal) are both gone and Navy shouldn't have to score many points to make this game safe.

How Navy Could Lose

The X-factor in this game is how a change in coach and system will affect the Owls. Undoubtedly the change from Howard Schnellenberger's outdated pro-style offense to the modern high tempo spread implemented by Carl Pelini will eventually bear fruit. It is hard however for any coach to step straight in with his predecessor's recruits and change the whole system, especially a guy like Pelini who has never worked as a head coach above the high school level before.

For FAU to win the offense would have to play lights out and hope that an equally retooled defense is able to slow down the Navy rushing attack and create some turnovers.

What Will Happen

This is a game Navy should win going away. FAU is entering a period of serious transition as the school moves on from the legendary Schnellenberger who quite literally created the football program from scratch. Even if the Owls are better than last year they still won't be good enough to match a Navy team who will be rolling at this point in the season. Big win predicted here.

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