If Navy is to play in the first ever AAC title game then it is likely that Keenan Reynolds and company will have to upset the Tigers in their own building this weekend. Memphis sits at number 15 in the polls and is the highest ranked non-power conference team in the first rankings released by the Playoff Committee. This will not be easy.
Season so far
In simple terms the Tigers have been perfect this season. Memphis sits at 8-0 and owns one of the best non-conference wins in the country by defeating Mississippi on the road. That is the same Mississippi team which has handed Alabama its lone loss in 2015. Memphis beat the Rebels 37-24 back on October 17th in a game which wasn’t even as close as the score suggests. The Tigers closest contest was a 44-41 victory over Bowling Green earlier in the season, but that is one of just two games (South Florida) where the Tigers have been held within a score by their opposition. Memphis will be hosting Navy fresh from a 41-13 drubbing of Tulane where the Tigers defense held the Green Wave scoreless in the second half.
Injuries and Suspensions
According to the Donbest.com NCAAF injury page which has been used all year to pick out injuries and suspensions for the Mids upcoming opponents, Memphis has exactly zero injuries and zero suspensions to worry about this weekend. While there are certainly players a little banged up, and probably some lower depth chart players actually out for the game, this means that the Tigers will be able to throw everything they have at Navy with their full complement of starters and key reserves available.
This is going to be a game of contrasting styles which should make for a fascinating contest. It is run vs pass, discipline vs expression and either could come out on top on game day. Memphis has won 15 in a row and the team is playing at a confidence level which will cause problems for Navy. Quarterback Paxton Lynch was almost a Florida recruit, before a bizarre series of events landed him in Tennessee instead. His ability to pass the ball and distribute to his playmakers will cause the Navy defense some problems. The defense has been very good this season, but they have yet to face a quarterback like Lynch. The flip side of that is that the Memphis defense has yet to face a running game like the Mids and that Navy should be able to move the ball on a defense which has given up plenty of points, and been bailed out by the offense, during this Memphis run.