Ready, Set, Record!

In Part One I reviewed the six best Navy football games for 2010 from a viewing perspective. Now it is time to look at the not so exciting half of the schedule. Only one game got the dreaded one out-of-five star rating, but I think facing a team for the fifth time in four years warrants it. The overall GoMids.com patented VSOS (Viewing Strength of Schedule) is a respectable 39.5 out of 50.

3 out of 5 stars)

 

East Carolina Pirates

November 6, 2010

@ Greenville, NC

TV TBD

 

As you could probably tell from Part One of my viewer rating guide, I get pretty excited about fresh opponents on the schedule. East Carolina is back after a four-year hiatus. In 2006, Navy beat the Pirates 28-23 in a season opener that saw several thousand fans make the six-hour drive from Greenville. Hopefully, Navy fans will return the favor this November. As to what to expect on the field, it should be interesting to see how Ruffin McNeill fares in his debut as a head coach after serving under Texas Tech's Mike Leach for the previous decade. The reigning Conference USA champions will be battle tested coming into the Navy contest as their schedule features two tough, out-of-conference road games (at Virginia Tech and at North Carolina) early in the season.

 

(3 out of 5 stars)

 

SMU Mustangs

October 16, 2010

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In terms of excitement, it is going to be tough to top Navy's 38-35 overtime victory last season that featured nearly 800 yards in total offense from the two teams. But there is no reason to think that it couldn't come close. SMU is clearly a team on the rise and their ability to run the ball to the tune of 6.5 yards per carry against the Mids last season should give Buddy Green plenty to worry about. The Mustangs will be the first of three consecutive home games (including Notre Dame in NJ) for Navy and they will probably feature the most potent quarterback that the Mids will face all season in Bo Levi Mitchell. As a matter of fact, seven of Navy's 12 opponents will be working in a new quarterback this season. Mitchell, unfortunately, is only a junior.

 

(2.5 out of 5 stars)

 

Arkansas State Red Wolves

November 20, 2010

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It's tough to get too excited about a Sun Belt opponent, but like I said before, I am a sucker for seeing a new uniform on the opposite sideline at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Red Wolves are only on the schedule because in January, Houston decided to lighten up their out-of-conference line-up by dropping the Midshipmen. And when they did, the 4-4-4 scheduling strategy employed by Navy got a little jolt as Arkansas State is definitely a game that the Mids will be favored to win; whereas Houston would have been in the toss-up category. So what's not to like about a fresh, winnable opponent? It should serve as a nice NMCS farewell for the Navy seniors and a good tune-up to Army.

 

(2.5 out of 5 stars)

 

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

September 18, 2010

@ Ruston, LA

TV TBD

 

After spotting the Bulldogs 14 points last season, Navy went on to score 32 unanswered points in what turned out to be one of the defense's best efforts of the season. The two-year home-and-home series ends with a trip to Ruston, Louisiana, which is located about an hour east of Shreveport (for those wondering). Greeting the Mids upon their arrival will be Sonny Dykes, who took the top job for the Bulldogs after Derek Dooley got the Tennessee gig. Expect a healthy dose of passing from Dykes who also has a lot of Texas Tech blood in his veins. Here's hoping the outcome of this game will be a bit different than what took place the last time Navy paid a visit to the state of Louisiana. The year was 2004 and the Mids were embarrassed by Tulane, 42-10.

 

(2 out of 5 stars)

 

Duke Blue Devils

October 30, 2010 (Homecoming)

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After dropping three consecutive contests on Homecoming to Rutgers in 2006 (34-0), Wake Forest in 2007 (44-24), and Pitt in 2008 (42-21), Navy broke out of their reunion weekend slump with a 13-10 victory over the Demon Deacons last season. Even with the win, the Midshipmen are still 3-7 in their last 10 Homecoming games. This season they welcome a familiar foe to Annapolis for Homecoming – Duke. Navy has played the Blue Devils five times in the last six years with the only break coming last season. I'd expect a banged up Duke team to roll into Navy-Marine Corps Stadium with contests against Alabama (yup), Miami, Virginia Tech on their early season schedule.

 

(1 out of 5 stars)

 

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

October 9, 2010

@ Winston Salem

TV TBD

This will be the fifth time in four years that Navy will play Wake Forest. I guess if someone is looking for a storyline, this could be called the rubber match in the series since both teams have won two games. However, I think most Navy fans will agree that it will be nice to see the Demon Deacons off the schedule in 2011 and 2012. It has been a good, competitive series, but I think East Carolina is a good swap for the next two seasons. And even though Wake Forest could definitely be in the midst of a little rebuilding effort with the departure of quarterback Riley Skinner and cornerback Brandon Ghee, they face Georgia Tech the week before Navy, so they will be well-prepared for the triple option. This game has lots of potential for ugliness. Feel free to DVR it and watch it after a nice long weekend trip to some fall festival destination.


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