10 Questions for Navy Sports in 2007

Here they are - the 10 questions all Navy fans will want answered in 2007. Well, maybe not all Navy fans, but nevertheless here are 10 questions that I thought were worth asking as we turn the calendar to a new year. I've even included a few posers that include our service academy rivals as well.

10. Just how good is the Air Force Basketball team?


Ok, I said this was a Navy sports list, but let's face it as long as Air Force keeps climbing up the Top 25, the questions will continue to be asked around Annapolis – just how good are the Falcons and can Navy even dream about getting to their now lofty level?  Ten weeks into the season, Air Force is 15-1, ranked #16 in the country by one poll and has a #10 ranking in the RPI.  Can you believe it but if Navy had Air Force on the schedule next week, and the Mids actually won, it may have to be considered one of the biggest wins (and upsets) in program history.  And by a lot of standards around here, we are having a good year.


9. Can Ian Dingman lead Navy lacrosse back to the NCAA finals?


2004 was a dream season that came to a heartbreaking end for the Navy lacrosse team as they were defeated by Syracuse 14-13 in the NCAA finals.  Since then, the Mids have failed to make it past the second round of the tournament, losing in the 2005 quarterfinals to Virginia and losing to Georgetown in the first round last year.  Navy got a rare gift when it comes to NCAA eligibility when Dingman was granted a fifth-year this spring.  I'd still like to see him try out for football – just for fun. 


8. Will the Navy Defense be able to stop Navy's offense during the spring football game?


Navy loses 8 out of 11 starters on defense but brings back its entire starting offensive backfield.  That could make for an extremely high-scoring affair at Navy Marine Corps Stadium during the annual Blue-Gold game.  Coming off of their best performance in recent memory, the Navy defense may go through some wholesale personnel and positional changes before spring practice is over.  I expect to hear the phrase "somebody needs to step up" from Coach Paul Johnson and Coach Buddy Green about 100 times before August.


7.  Can the Navy men's basketball team finish above .500? 


Right now, the team is 10-6 overall and 0-1in conference play with 13 regular season games remaining on the schedule.  If they go 5-8 or better the rest of the way, they will have a winning record heading into the Patriot League Tournament.  The last time the team finished above .500 was the 2000-2001 season.  All the buzz seems to be about freshman Trey Stanton, but if Navy is going to have a winning record, it will be on the shoulders (and shooting) of Greg Sprink.


6.  Can Mitch Harris put up even better numbers for Navy baseball?


It may just not be possible for Harris to pitch any better than he did in 2006.  His statistics were mind-boggling: 10-3, 1.74 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and .189 opposing batting average.  Furthermore, he showed no let down as the season wore on as he hurled a no-hitter in his last start against Coppin State.  One thing is for sure, Harris will surely get some looks from Major League Baseball scouts if he even approaches those numbers again.  Meanwhile, the team finished 32-21-1 under the guidance of first-year coach Paul Kostacopoulos.  Boy, wouldn't having Harris pitch in Game One of an NCAA game be fun to watch.


5. Will NAAA have another tent sale this spring?


I probably could have gotten an answer to this question simply by sending an email to NAAA, but I thought it would be nice to put the question here – sort of to air my wishful thinking in public.  Talk about what would be an early Christmas present.  I guarantee you, if there is a sale, that this time I'll get there earlier and probably even buy more.  A few suggestions, just in case there is such an event.  1) More check-out counters are needed.  2) Start it a few hours before kick-off of the spring game because diehard fans need to be able to see every play.  3) Bring some of those prices down for game jerseys and helmets – apparel was well-priced though. 


4. How many Navy fans will ask Paul Johnson questions during GoMids.com's first ever live web-chat with the coach?


You heard it here first.  We are still trying to work out the details, but it looks like it is going to happen in the near future.  So start thinking of those questions you have always wanted to ask but never could.  Keep checking GoMids.com for more details.


3.  Is Navy football about to join the Mid-American Conference (MAC)?


Of course the answer is "no," but can you name the last time that Navy has played four teams from the same conference in one year?  Games against MAC newcomer Temple, Ball State, Kent State and now Bowling Green in 07 will probably start some more unnecessary conference joining rumors, but the last time I looked, Notre Dame still does not schedule MAC teams.  Speaking of Notre Dame…yikes, should I even go there?  I mean you know who is graduating.  Too early for that?  Yeah, I agree.  Moving on…


2. Will Navy women's lacrosse supplant the women's soccer team as the signature program for women athletes at the Academy?


Well, not in 2007 because the women's lacrosse team does not officially begin Division I-A play until 2008.  And even then, I am sure there will be some growing pains.  However, the state of Maryland loves its lacrosse and Navy sure as heck went out and got the best coach they could in Cindy Timchul.  But even with all those superlatives, I don't see the women's soccer team letting up one bit in the next few years.  They are young; they are fast; and they are good.  And I almost forgot (well, not really) – they have a pretty darn good coach too.


1. Which Army team, wrestling or football, has a better shot at beating Navy in 2007?


Is neither an acceptable answer?  Probably not which is why I have to say football.  This is the biggest no-brainer on the list, but I wanted to work in some props to our wrestling team.  And any list about 2007, must include "the game" so I combined both items into one question.  Navy wrestling owns Army to the tone of a 40-5-5 all-time record.  And after Navy almost knocked off #4 Oklahoma State, you have to think that they will punish Army, who lost to the same opponent 32-7.  As for "the game," I have no doubt come December that Navy will be reminded by Coach Johnson how "awful" they played against Army a year earlier.  However, my sources tell me that Army is revamping their offense in the off-season.  Ok, I have no sources at West Point, but after watching Navy outplay Boston College, they better do something drastic this off-season if they want to dream about a victory in Baltimore in December.






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