The 118th meeting of the Army-Navy game (CBS, 3:00 P.M.) from Philadelphia is the perfect game at the perfect time. Some of you are snow bound. I’m stuck in my south Florida burrow enduring a pretty heavy rain and falling temps (it’ll be in the low-to-mid 40’s here tonight), but I’ve got chips, beer and snug socks. Hope you’re well-stocked wherever you are and get a mall-pass today.
This is always more than a football game. Let us consider that many of the young men on either sideline will be playing in their last Army-Navy football game ever, and immediately after their respective bowl appearances, will be going into harm’s way. Football games are often referred to as “a war,” or, “a battle.” Some of these young men will be going into a real war with real battles. God Bless them all.
This game itself always has a nostalgic feel to it. It is “throwback” football at its very best: From the Cadets and Midshipmen in the stands to the very type of football we see on the field. There’s nothing fancy out there: No jet-sweeps, no exotic receiver alignments, RPO’s or pro-style formations. It’s triple option football and it’s fun to watch.* If you were to turn the color setting off on your fancy 4K TV and watch this in black & white, you could be watching a game from 1963 when Roger Staubach won the Heisman for Navy.
Both teams are going bowling and are evenly matched in terms of rushing success: Navy has gained 3,822 yards on the ground; Army 4049. Navy has a decided edge in passing: 1003 yards to Army’s 335 (I think passing the football at Army might be an accident).
Jeff Monken’s Army squad is 8-3 with notable victories over Air Force and @Duke and will play San Diego State in the Lockheed-Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
Ken Niumatalolo’s Navy squad played a very difficult schedule in 2017, and is 6-5 with notable wins over Florida Atlantic, Air Force and SMU. They played Notre Dame and UCF tough in close losses. They’ll face Virginia in the Northrop-Grumman Military Bowl.
Can Army make it two-in-a-row? Will Navy avenge last year’s 21-17 loss that snapped a 14 game winning streak in the series?
Come for the game, stay for the camaraderie. For all the veterans dropping by, thank you for your service. Don’t be shy: Tell us about your Branch of the Armed Forces and brag a little. We won’t mind!
Have you seen the uniforms this year? Navy’s are cool...but in my humble opinion, Army wins this round. And, it’s snowing in Philadelphia. Omen for Army? We’ll see...
Go Army! Go Navy! (and, as always, Go Dawgs!)
*Georgia Tech not included. YMMV.