West Point – send Temple University, Hurricane Matthew (the National Weather Service will suffice), and the American Athletic Conference a thank you note, NOW. If you ever had a year to defeat the Midshipmen since your last win in 2001, 2016 is that year.
Hurricane Matthew caused a delay in the playing of the East Carolina University game from its original date of October 20th to November 18th. The end result of the November 18th ECU/Navy contest earned Navy the right to play in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Game today – one week before Army/Navy.
This is significant. The injection of the AAC Conference Game into the schedule does the following:
- Eliminates the bye-week,
- Will mark the 7th of 8 consecutive weeks played without a bye, and
- Forces the Midshipmen to line-up against another Top 30 team.
- Final Score: Temple 34, Navy 10. Navy looked outplayed and gassed.There was a lot of this in Annapolis Saturday
In marque rivalry games, all bets are off. The deciding factors in each are preparation, discipline, and execution. Now, Navy is being asked to prepare in half the time while coming off a bruising, and costly contest against Temple. What was essential to preparation, and equal importance, recovery – the bye week.
College football schedules mirror that of human performance – there is a build to a peak, and then a deload before building back up to another marquee game. Huge, big game matches are common place in Week 1 of the season because programs have had all off-season to prepare for that one game. Relatively winnable games are contested to work on execution, followed with an important conference or rivalry game (see Air Force). Playing 8 consecutive weeks of football takes a toll on the human body and its capacity to perform at a high level, week in, and week out. Injuries accumulated during Temple impacting the outcome.
“But Pat come on, Navy is so much better than Army.” Agreed; however, that notion is hubris when Army/Navy is played. The difference between the two programs is substantial, and it has been substantial over the last 5 years, too. Oh, the results of 4 of those 5 games – decided by one possession. Three of which were decided by 4 points.
I will always ‘believe that we will win,’ but the conditions are prime for Army to win in 2016 thanks to this perfect storm.