September 5, 2009
The raw data: Ohio State returns 38 lettermen including 5 offensive and 7 defensive starters. Ohio State finished the 2008 season 10-3 with losses to USC, Penn State and Texas.
Why we should be worried: Terrelle Pryor. The 6-foot-6, 235 pound quarterback can do it all. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,311 yards, 12 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. He also ran for 631 yards and 6 scores. Defensively the Buckeyes have strong safety Kurt Coleman back. He had 78 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3 tackles for losses last year. Defensive end Thaddeus Gibson is also back. Gibson had 5 sacks last season to go along with his 26 tackles. Playing in Ohio Stadium will be a unique experience for the Mids and one they'll look forward too, however, most teams come away with losses. OSU head coach Jim Tressel is 50-6 when playing at home.
Why we should be optimistic: While Pryor is a great player he can't do it alone. The Buckeyes have only 5 offensive starters back while Navy has 7 back on defense. Ohio State may very well overlook Navy much as they did the University of Ohio last year. The Bobcats, which run an option offense, gave the Buckeyes a great fight and led in the fourth quarter before falling, 26-14. Maybe Navy could finish.
What might happen: Navy scores first and stuns a crowd of 100,000 Buckeye fans. The small contingent of Navy fans goes bananas. However, Ohio State battles back and takes control of the game by the third quarter.
Predicted Score: Ohio State 28 Navy 10
September 12, 2009
The raw data: The Bulldogs had a pretty good football team last year, winning 8 games and finishing with a bowl loss to Northern Illinois. Louisiana Tech returns a boatload of starters, including 9 offensive and 7 defensive. This will be the first ever meeting between the Mids and Bulldogs.
Why we should be worried: As mentioned above, the Tech returns a bunch of players from a team that did pretty well. Senior running back Daniel Porter (5-9, 190) rushed for 1,164 yards and 9 scores in 2008. Top receiver Phillip Livas (43 receptions) also returns along with the entire offensive line. On defense, free safety Antonio Baker, who led the team in tackles (115) in 2008, is back. The Bulldogs also return their entire defensive line.
Why we should be optimistic: Hey, this team lost to Army! What more could you ask for in an opponent? Not only did they lose to the Cadets but they were limited to just 7 points. Tech also returns just one of their three linebackers which should make things easier for Navy's option attack.
What might happen: This is a game that will go back and forth. The lead will change hands at least 4 times. However, a late touchdown run by Ricky Dobbs will seal the win for Navy.
Predicted Score: Navy 34 Louisiana Tech 31
September 19, 2009
The raw data: Pitt owns an all-time 21-13 series lead over Navy and last year beat the Mids badly, 42-21, in Annapolis. Pitt returns 49 lettermen including 8 offensive starters and 7 defensive starters.
Why we should be worried: Last year the Panthers held our Mids to a paltry 194 yards rushing, unheard of numbers. 6-foot-5, 265 pound Greg Romeus is back. Last year he earned all Big East honors while picking up 51 tackles and 7.5 sacks. He's part of a defensive line that returns all four starters. The Panther secondary has 3 of 4 starters back. On offense, Pitt has Bill Stull, who in 2008 passed for over 2,300 yards and 9 touchdowns, back. Three wide receiver who caught 20 or more passes return. Three of five offensive linemen return.
Why we should be optimistic: Hey, this is exactly the kind of game that the Mids will pull off a stunner in! No one will give Navy a chance in this game. The Panthers will come in flat as a pancake while the Navy players will be bouncing off the walls to beat a top 20 team.
What might happen: Forget last year's score, it's not going to happen again. This game will be a lot like the Louisiana Tech game, back and forth. Navy can win this game but look for Pittsburgh to kick a late field goal to win this one.
Predicted Score: Pittsburgh 27 Navy 24