This weekend, Navy is matched up against a solid UMass team. Because UMass is a 1AA team, there is no point spread for this game. UMass opened with a solid 28-7 win over perennial Patriot League contender Colgate. UMass is coached by Don Brown, who was the defensive coordinator at UMass during their last 1AA national championship run. This is a team that faces an option attack every year against conference foe URI.
Many Navy fans are confident of an easy win. I would caution those who foresee a blowout. Aside from last weeks contest with ECU, the games that are the freshest in any Navy fans memories are easy win, high offensive output games from 2005 against Temple, Army and Colorado St. The triple option was firing on all cylinders. However, the last two seasons show that Navy rarely blows out an opponent in the first half of the season. The only exception was the game at Tulsa in 2004, which Navy won 29-0. But wait, you say, UMass is a 1AA team. Navy is 3-1 in the last few years against 1AA teams, but the only one of those games that was a blowout was against VMI. VMI is nowhere near the equal of 1AA UMass, which is a top 10 1AA team.
Navy's rushing game was solid against ECU. There were a couple of bad pitches, but the offensive line had good "push" against a bigger opponent the entire game. The passing game had a few near misses. There were no big plays, just consistent games of 5-8 yards over and over again. Navy's passing game is sure to improve.
I believe Navy puts up another solid effort on offense, but UMass will provide a better test for the Midshipmen. Final score: Navy 38 – UMass 27
Predictions for Navy's opponents:
Stanford breezes by San Jose St. Stanford got stomped by Oregon in the opener. People forget that Oregon lost just 1 game last year. They are a good team and have a good program. A Stanford team that returns practically its entire offense will bounce back this week.
Tulsa upsets BYU. Of all Navy opponents, this is the week's most interesting matchup. Tulsa is a bowl team that returns a good amount of starters. It is hard to get a good read on them based on their season opening domination of a mediocre 1AA Stephen F. Austin team. Going into Provo as a 6 point dog is anything but smooth sailing. I predict a close, hard fought win for Tulsa.
UConn is idle.
Air Force takes it on the chin against Tennessee. Tennessee is ripe for a bit of a letdown after the much hyped matchup against Cal. However, AF is playing its first game of the season, at Tennessee with 105,000 hostile fans in the stadium. The talent differential will take over. Tennessee wins by 3 touchdowns.
Temple loses to Louisville. This game will definitely be ugly for the Owls.
Army bounces back to beat Kent State. I think that losing two starters just prior to the road opener was too much to overcome for a team that is not used to winning. Army can't be bad enough to lose their home opener to Kent. (Can they?)