Business as usual: Navy bowling again

Another year, another bowl game. It's become that simple for the Navy football program. The Midshipmen became bowl-eligible for the fourth consecutive season with a 38-13 victory over Duke last Saturday. Navy (6-3) will play an ACC opponent to be determined in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 30 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

Don't get the wrong idea: It's taken a lot of hard work to raise Navy to prominence and the Midshipmen have worked hard for every win. That's what makes this four-year run so impressive.

"I'm excited the team has achieved one of their goals, to have a chance to go to a bowl game," said Navy coach Paul Johnson. "Our focus right now is on Eastern Michigan. It's good to get it out of the way now. There's no question where our focus needs to be and where it will be." Navy's postseason run began in 2003 with a 38-14 loss to Texas Tech in the Houston Bowl. But the Midshipmen followed that up by beating New Mexico 34-19 in the Emerald Bowl in '04 and a 51-30 win over Colorado State in last year's Poinsettia Bowl.

Navy is 32-14 since the start of 2003. Army is just 9-36 (the Midshipmen had 10 wins alone in 2004) and Air Force is 20-22 during that span. Bowl projections have Navy possibly playing Clemson in Charlotte or, perhaps, Florida State or Miami (Fla.).

"It's going to be somebody good," Jonson said. "You won't have to worry about that." Navy plays Eastern Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit this weekend, before hosting Temple on Nov. 18. After a bye week, the Midshipmen take on rival Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Johnson said the team won't talk about its bowl game again until after it plays Army. That's a good idea.

But we the proud fans, can keep talking about all we want. Heck, the Navy faithful have four bowl games to talk about.

Extra points: Eastern Michigan is 1-7, but has lost six games this season by eight points or less. That includes three defeats by four points or less. Eastern Michigan has lost its last three games (to Ohio University, Western Michigan and Toledo) by a combined 13 points ... The Midshipmen are one-of-seven teams to win bowl games in each of the last two years, joining Southern Mississippi, Ohio State, Boston College, Utah, Texas and Arizona State on the list.

Isn't that something.


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