Tough test this week for the Midshipmen. As if playing an opponent from the Pac-10 weren't enough, Navy faces an opponent whose back is against the wall after opening the season with two losses. Navy may represent Stanford's best chance for a win the rest of the season. On top of all that, Stanford is playing the first game at its brand new stadium in front of what is sure to be a near sellout crowd.
All hope is not lost for the Midshipmen, however. Stanford currently has the nation's worst defense against the run. Navy's poor performance in the passing game could hurt its ability to run against some teams. Stanford may not be one of those teams.
Navy enters the game as a one point underdog. I believe Navy is a good play. Here are some statistics: Stanford is 3-8 against the spread coming off an upset loss since 1996. Stanford is 1-6 against the spread at home after back to back road games. Stanford is 1-5 against the spread after straight up losses against a below .500 opponents.
All of this bodes well for the Midshipmen. The wild card in this is the emotion that the Cardinal might find coming on the opening of their new stadium. I believe that that emotion might be mitigated by a strong Navy following that is sure to be vocal. A Navy flyover and appearance by the Navy band will further temper the pro-Stanford atmosphere.
Finally, Navy is a better team than it has shown. The offense was good statistically against East Carolina, but experienced Navy watchers know that the offense was not firing on all cylinders. Against UMass, the offense was atrocious, but the defense was stellar for the final three quarters.
Prediction: Navy puts it all together. Brian Hampton finds his form and the defense bends, but puts up enough resistance to keep Navy in the game. Navy wins it 35-31.
Navy's opponents this week:
East Carolina wins their home opener against Memphis.
UMass squeaks by Villanova. This should be a tough game, but UMass appeared to be a very talented team.
After the big loss at BYU, Tulsa bounces back and beats North Texas fairly comfortably.
UConn wins against Wake at home. This game should be of special interest to Navy fans.
Air Force is idle.
Rutgers has been impressive so far this season. Ohio University will keep it closer than most think, but Rutgers will pull this one out.
Michigan will upset Notre Dame.
Another interesting match up is EMU against Northwestern. Northwestern has already lost to a Division 1AA team this year and is clearly struggling after the sudden death of their coach. In spite of all that, I believe Northwestern will defeat Eastern Michigan.
Duke gets destroyed by Virginia Tech and Temple will get beat even worse by Minnesota.