The annual Armed Classic game is almost upon us. With this week being completely devoid of any college football contests, Army vs. Navy always takes center stage on Saturday before bowl season commences. Whether or not you have a vested rooting interest in either program, this contest always proves to be an explosive affair with plenty of high-scoring action thanks to the religious utilization of the triple option offense by both teams. With Army winning the contest last year, Navy will look to retake the glory as the superior armed forces branch when it comes to football. Considering both teams have winning records coming into this contest, pride and continued competitive success will shape what should be a thrilling score fest between these relentlessly physical programs.
While the defense of Navy was putrid at the start of the season, their final two games of the season revealed a much more competent and disciplined score preventing squad (relinquished just 24 points to Notre Dame and Houston each). With that being said, the Midshipmen will be heavily reliant on their rushing attack led by quarterback Zach Abey (14 rushing touchdowns). Second in the nation when it comes to rushing yards per game (347.5), Navy has the proven capabilities and athletes to expertly run the football swiftly and effectively.
Unsurprisingly, Army is also unapologetic when it comes to running the football relentlessly (368.1 rushing yards per game). Despite throwing the ball just 39 times this season, Black Knights quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw is an expert at reading opposing defenses and has the athleticism to consistently make plays with his legs (11 rushing touchdowns). The beneficiary of a disciplined and aggressive defense (21.6 PAPG), Bradshaw almost always takes full advantage of his extra opportunities and is the obvious catalyst for his team’s success down the stretch of big games.
Although the Midshipmen have been the kings of this contest for years, last year appeared to be a changing of the guard as Army shocked their hated rivals. While trying to ascertain which running game is superior is an exercise in futility, the defensive play of the Black Knights is a distinct advantage that will be immensely beneficial as this contest progresses. Despite the historical success of the Midshipmen, the Black Knights have the better team this year and will win this highly anticipated game for the second year in a row.
Final Score: Midshipmen 27 Black Knights 37 Spread: Navy -3.0