Just one game involving the ACC or Navy this weekend, but it is a big one …
* Army vs. Navy (3, CBS): Midshipmen 34-24. Navy owns 10 consecutive victories in the series, though the Black Knights had a viable chance in last year’s game at FedEx Field. The on-field gap between Army and its fellow service academies has narrowed, between a strong first half against Air Force, an ultra-competitive game against Navy last year and a stirring rout of Air Force this season.
Still, Army is 118th nationally against the run, a number that does not bode well even if it knows exactly what Navy’s offense is all about. And the Black Knights are 2-9, compared to 7-4 for Navy.
And in this series, as SB Nation pointed out so astutely this week, that tends to matter:
The last time the team with the lesser record won a game in this series was in 2000, when 0-10 Army beat 1-9 Navy. The last time a demonstrably worse team won a game in this rivalry was probably 1991, when 0-10 Navy beat 4-6 Army.
And the last time a team with five fewer victories than the other won in the series? That would be 1985, when 3-7 Navy topped 8-2 Army by a 17-7 margin (the Black Knights would go on to beat Illinois in the Peach Bowl that year).
It would qualify as a surprise if Navy simply blistered the Black Knights. The Mids effectively survived in three of their last four victories this year, triumphs over Indiana, Florida Atlantic and Texas State. They are not a juggernaut.
But they are better, and shouldn’t have quite the same scare put into them as they did a year ago. But even if Army doesn’t get to sing second —- its stated goal a year ago in reference to the playing of the school alma maters at game’s end —- it isn’t likely to get bulldozed in this trip to Lincoln Financial Field.
ACC title game record: 1-0
Overall record: 81-27 (33-15 conference)
ACC record: 73-24 (33-15 conference)
Preseason ACC record: 71-25 (32-16 conference)
Navy record: 8-3
—- Patrick Stevens