American Athletic Conference Preview: Navy Midshipmen
We continue on as I work through one team per day, today we will focus on Midshipmen of the US Naval Academy. Last season Navy went 9-5 and won the West Division before dropping the AAC Championship game to Temple 34-10. This season they look to be just as strong of a problem. However, the rest of the league has gotten stronger as well. Can they repeat last season’s success and come up and win the West Division again? I don’t believe they will but I do believe they will be bowl eligible again.
Best Case Scenario- Navy opens against Florida Atlantic University and are 65% chance to win that game. They then open AAC play against Tulane and Cincinnati both games in Annapolis. This will make their record 3-0. They then have to go to Tulsa which is a tough game and as of now, they are only 35% to win that game. I will give them a loss on the road. Up next their first game against another military team in AirForce they are now 80% to win that game and I can’t see a scenario in which they lose that game. The next game will go a long way to deciding who wins the West Division in my opinion and its a road game at Memphis. I believe that the winner of that game wins the West, currently Navy has a 23% chance to win that game on the road. So we will give them a loss there. Next up UCF comes to town for the first time ever, and Navy will lose their first home game of the season. This moves their record to 4-3, their next two games will seem like cupcakes because of Notre Dame lurking behind those 2. They win both of those before dropping the game to Notre Dame. So now they are bowl eligible at 6-4 with Houston and Army still left on the schedule. The Houston game is on the road and I believe they steal a win on the road before coming back and beating Army to complete the sweep of the Military Branches. Finishing their season with a record of 8-4 and yet another AAC going bowling.
Worst Case Scenario- Navy still wins their opening game against Florida Atlantic University. They drop the game against Tulane and win against Cincinnati, they still lose to Tulsa on the road and are now sitting at 2-2. They still beat AirForce but then they lose 3 in a row after that to fall to 3-5. They beat SMU but then lose to Notre Dame Houston and Army. They finish the season at 4-8 and no bowling for Navy.
Players to Watch- Zach Abey- QB, Chris High-FB, Micah Thomas-LB, Evan Martin-OG, DJ Palmore-LB. If Navy wants to improve off of last season’s success it starts at 3rd down they were dead last in the nation allowing teams to convert at 54%. This will definitely need to improve if they are going to win the west again.
What will likely occur- This is a tough schedule for Navy and they will likely have to have some upsets to get to a good season but I see them winning between 7 and 9 games. The MOST important thing though is a win against Army as they had won 14 in a row before being upset last year. This is a talented team I just believe schedule and other teams talents will catch up with them.