USA Today has Navy at No. 48

After a couple of rankings (Athlon Sports and Lindy’s) had come out with less than favorable expectations for Navy this fall it is good to see another publication which has the Mids inside the top 50.

USA Today may be a relative new boy on the in-depth season preview block, but their research and write ups stack up very well with some of the more seasoned industry leaders. That is why it is welcoming to see the Mids slotting in at number 48 in their preseason rankings.

One of the aspects of the USA Today preview that is more interesting than some of the others is the pure journalistic style in which it is written. Yes, they will still throw stats at you and give out all the information that is needed, but the background of the newspaper results in praise such as this for Keenan Reynolds.

“His running style is the child of a gazelle and a bowling ball, with the speed and elusiveness of the former and the devastating, sniff-the-end-zone destructiveness of the latter. Thirty-one touchdowns, a number so beyond the norm it boggles even the firmest and most well-informed of minds – 31 touchdowns, for goodness sake, the most by a quarterback in Football Bowl Subdivision history.”

Read that and tell me you didn’t get a chill as we get closer and closer to the beginning of football season. The praise and recognition for Reynolds though does not stop there:

“Sacrilege, maybe, but let's put it out there: Reynolds is Navy's best quarterback since Roger Staubach. This isn't heresy, nor a slight to the rest of the Midshipmen's near-legends – Ricky Dobbs, Chris McCoy and Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, to name a few.

Like Staubach before him, Reynolds gives Navy a shot at the Heisman Trophy. It's been 41 years since Staubach took him the hardware; Reynolds will make a run at the title in 2014 – and again in 2015.”

In the unit breakdown USA Today has nothing but praise for the Navy offense. After effusing more about Keenan Reynolds, and his Heisman chances, the paper notes how the offensive line is talented and deep, while the running game is loaded with options. Of note is how it mentioned that outside of Reynolds the most important player in the system, is DeBrandon Sanders who works double duty as a game changing slot back and the Mids most explosive receiver.

The concern then is the defense which USA Today believes is weak up the middle and in the front seven in general. Much of this is put down to unknowns and due to the amount of turnover on the unit. It does point out, however, that the strength of the defense is the secondary, and especially the corners, while Parrish Gaines can be a huge asset to the group if he is able to provide more up the middle defense at the point of attack.

Overall this is an excellent review of the Mids and well worth seeking out to read when at a loose end. I will leave you with this:

“Whether Navy moves into the conversation for a national ranking hinges on games against OSU, Notre Dame and Rutgers, the three major-conference foes on the schedule. Even if they lose all three – and Rutgers is very, very winnable – Navy is an eight-win team with the possibility for nine victories during the regular season. This has become like clockwork.”

43rd – Phil Steele

48th – USA Today

57th – Athlon Sports

63rd – Lindy’s