Monday, July 31, 2006

State vs. State: Part 1

There are few things more boring then riding on a Southwest Airlines airplane. That is, unless you end up getting into a high stakes game of "Go Fish" with a good looking girl beside you, but that's another story for another day. Anyways, you can probably imagine how sapped of thought and energy I was the other day, while en route to Salt City (nice place by the way). Seeing as though I had already read through the Sky magazine, that catalog with cheap gizmos nobody ever needs, and all the Spanish warnings on my air sickness bag the week before en route to Chicago, I was pretty much bored off my ass. So, like I always do in such situations, I decided to rip out my trusty old friend Phil Steele and browse. (Note to readers: It's come to my attention that my taking to 'Ol Phil has some of you annoyed and angered, so I'll bar any further mention of him/his magazine for the remainder of this post.)

Dude, I swear it's the new Texas Hold'em

Going through team by team, I started to ask myself several questions, all related to where teams play and who they play. How many states were represented by Division I-A teams? Which state had the most Division I-A teams? Which state had the best overall record, and which state played the toughest schedule? And for goodness sakes, which political ideology has better teams! Considering that this particular blog isn't known for its statistical analysis (why lie, I abhor the mathematics community), I didn't exactly set out to answer all these questions. Yet, by some Act of God unbeknownst to me, I actually did. So without further adieu, let me present to you Mr. A's State vs. State analysis of the 2006 Football Season.

The Basics
  • First of all, they're 41 states represented in Div I-A play. They are, in no particular order (like you're really gonna read all of these): Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, New York, Idaho, Massachusetts, California, Utah, Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Wyoming, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Iowa, Nevada, Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, and Ed Oregon's own Mississippi.
  • I should of just told you the states without teams. Those unfortunate wastelands are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota (really is a wasteland), Alaska, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine.
  • The state with the most teams? Take a guess. No, seriously, take a guess...Alright, alright, it's Texas of course. With Ten teams, Texas counts for about 12% of Div IA Teams. Ohio was second with 8 teams, California and Florida each with 7, while Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina all came in with 5 teams each.
  • Nine states came in registering only one Div I-A teams, those being Wyoming, Wisconsin, Hawaii, New Jersey, Nebraska, Montana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Now let's break this down state by state, shall we? Bold will indicate combined state record, while italics will maintain BCS record. Bold and Italics will indicate the combined score and BCS record are the same.

  • Alabama-With The University of Alabama going 10-2, Auburn going 9-3, and Troy going 4-7, the state went a combined 28-18 (.609). However, it's BCS teams (Alabama and Auburn) went a combined 19-5 (.792).
  • Arizona-Arizona St. may have went 7-5, but Arizona struggled, going only 3-8. Combined (and BCS) record sits at 10-13 (.435).
  • Arkansas- The Razorbacks went only 4-7, and didn't get much help from 6-6 Sunbelt Champion Arkansas St. The state sums up at 10-13 (.435).
  • California-This state posted the best record overall, going 51-33 (.607). Cal went 8-4, Fresno St. went 8-5, Sand Diego St. went 5-7, San Jose St. only 3-8, Stanford 5-6, UNCLA 10-2, and of course USC chimed in at 12-1. BCS wise the state came in at 35-13 (729).
  • Colorado- Air Force went 4-7, while Colorado (7-6) and Colorado St. (6-6) both limped away from Bowl games. The state went 17-19 (.472), while BCS wise (aka Colorado) finished at 7-6.
  • Connecticut-UCONN went 5-6.
  • Florida-FIU (5-6), Florida (9-3), FAU (2-9), Florida St. (8-5), Miami (9-3), UCF (8-5), and USF (6-6) combined for a total record of 47-28 (.627). BCS teams went 32-17 (.653) in the state.
  • Georgia-Tech went 7-5 (CGE) while the University of Georgia went 10-3. 17-8 (.680) overall and BCS record.
  • Hawaii-The Warriors went 5-7 (.417).
  • Idaho-While Bopise St. went 9-4, the Vandels finished at 2-9 in their first yea rof WAC play. 10-13 (.435) combined.
  • Illinois-While Northern Illinois and Northwestern both went 7-5, The Illini's 2-9 record dropped the state to 16-19 (.457) combined, and 9-14 (.391) BCS.
  • Indiana-Ball State and Indiana both went 4-7, while Purdue finished with a disappointing 5-6 record. The Domers went 9-3 of course. 22-23 (.489) combined, 18-16 (.529) BCS.
  • Iowa-Posted a 14-10 (.583) combined and BCS as Iowa and Iowa St. both went 7-5.
  • Kansas- Kansas went 7-5, while Kansas St. finished at 5-6. A 12-11 (.522) combined and BCS record.
  • Kentucky-Louisville went 9-3, but KU only finished 3-8, leaving a 12-11 (.522) combined and BCS record.
  • Louisiana-LSU dominated at 11-2, but Tulane (2-9), ULM (5-6) and ULL (6-5) all struggled. Louisiana Tech was a surprising 704 in WAC play, as the state totals a 31-26 (.544) combined and 11-2 BCS record.
  • Maryland-The Fridge lead the Terripans to a 5-6 record, while Coach PJ lead a resurgent Midshipmen team to an 8-4 record. 13-10 (.565) combined, 5-6 BCS.
  • Massachusetts-Boston College went 9-3 (.750).
  • Michigan- The records of C. Michigan (6-5), Eastern Michigan (4-7), Michigan (7-5), Michigan St. (5-6), and W. Michigan (7-4) ass up to a 29-27 combined and a 12-11 BCS record.
  • Minnisota-The Golden Gophers went 7-5.
  • Mississippi-Ol Miss finsihed out at 3-8, while Mississippi St. went 3-8. Southern Miss went 7-7 in CUSA. Combined they went 13-21, 6-16 BCS.
  • Missouri- The Tigers went 7-5.
  • Nebraska-The Cornhuckers went 8-4.
  • Nevada-UNLV went 2-9 while the University of Nevada went 9-3. 11-12 combined.
  • New Jersey-Rutgers went 7-5.
  • New Mexico-The Lobos went 6-5 while the NMSU went a miserable 0-12. A 6-17 combined record.
  • New York-This state was absolutly pathetic. Army was the best at 4-7, while Buffalo and Syracuse both went 1-10. That's a 6-27 combined record, and a 1-10 BCS record.
  • North Carolina- Duke was 1-10, ECU went 5-6, NCSU went 7-5, the Tarheals went 5-6, and Wake Forest finsihed at 4-7. A 22-34 combined record pretty much matches the 17-28 BCS record.

Don't just blame Duke (although at 1-10 I wouldn't blame ya); with ECU, NC, Wake Forest and NCSU, the talent rich state of North Carolina defines mediocrity.

  • Ohio- Akron was 7-6, Bowling Green went 6-5, Cincinnatii went 4-7, Kent St. was a miserable 1-10, Miami (Oh) was 7-4, Ohio went 4-7, tOSU was 10-2, and Toledo finished 9-3. Combined they went 48-42, and BCS wise came in at 14-9.
  • Oklahoma- Tulsa went an unheralded 9-4, while Oklahoma went 8-4 and Oklahoma St. went 4-7. A 21-15 combined record, and a 12-11 BCS record.
  • Oregon-The Beavers went 5-6 while the University of Oregon went 10-2. 15-8.
  • Pennsylvania- Penn State went a great 11-1, but Pitt struggled (5-6) and Temple just flat out sucks (0-11). Combined 16-18 (.471), BCS 16-7 (696%).
  • South Carolina-The Gamecocks went 7-5 while Clemson went 8-4. Combined and BCS record of 15-9.
  • Tennessee-Fulmer's vols were a disgustingly pathetic 5-6, while Memphis was 7-4, MTSU was 4-7, and Vandy went 5-6. All told the great state went 21-23 (.477) combined and 10-12 BCS (.459).
  • Texas-Baylor and Texas A&M, and SMU all went 5-6, while Houston went 6-6. North Texas went 2-9 and Rice went 1-10, while Texas Tech finished at 9-3 and UTEP at 8-4. TCU was 11-1, while National Champs Texas went a perfect 13-0. Combined the state was 67-60 (.523), while BCS teams went 32-15 (.681).
  • Utah-BYU went 6-6, white the Utes of Utah were 7-5. Utah State (2-9) brings the pack down to a combined 16-19 (.457).
  • Virginia-Virginia was 7-5, while Tech went 11-2, combining for an 18-7 (.720) record.
  • Washington- Washington went 2-9 while Washington State finished at 4-7, giving this state a combined and BCS record of 6-16 (.273)
  • West Virginia- The Mountaineers went 11-1 (.912), while Marshal only finished at 4-7. Combined they yield a 15-8 (.652) record.
  • Wisconsin-The Badgers went an overated 10-3 (.769) last season.
  • Wyoming- The Cowboys went 4-7 (.363)last season.

Fun Facts

Because we live in what has become a very political country, I also took the liberty of looking at the winning percentages of teams from Red States and Blue States. When I set out to do this, I told myself I wouldn't publish this if the Blue States beat the Red States in winning percentage, which should give you some indication about where I stand. It should also give you some indication about who won. Yessir, it was them damn Red States!

Teams from Red States logged up 980 games last season, of which they won 517, which puts their winning percentage right around .528. Meanwhile, teams from Blue States logged 388 games last season, of which they won 195, giving them a .503 winning percentage.

So, why did the Red States win? Well, it may be because of some sociological phenomenon between southern people, conservativism, and football, but then again Mississippi went an embarrassing 13-21. The Red States definitely have Bush to thank though (no dude, the Governor), whose state went 47-28. Most importantly however, I think I've finally proven, through statistics, that Hillary Clinton would be the worst President ever if elected with the following:

Hillary = Senator from New York = 6-27 overall state football record (2-20 without those great guys from West Point) = Total Crap = Total disinterest in football = The collapse of American civilization = Collapse of the Freaken World

Intends to Destory the World, One Div I-A program at a time

All righty, now that we've used logical reasoning to save America and our beloved sport, let's take a look at some real serious statistical junk.

  • Of states with only one Div I-A team, Wisconsin posted the best winning percentage witha 10-3 record (.769). Wyoming, at 4-7 (.364) posted the worst.
  • Of states with two Div I-A teams, Virginia posted the highest winning percentage (.720), while Arkansas and Arizona posted the worst at 10-13 (.435)
  • Of states with three Div I-A teams, Colorado posted the best record at a mediocre 17-19 (.472), while lowly New York came it at 6-27 (.182)
  • Of states with 4 Div I-A teams, Alabamy had the best record going 28-18 (.609), while Tennesee had the worst going 21-23 (.477).
  • Of states with 5 Div I-A teams, Louisiana came in first with a .564 winning percentage, followed by Michigan at .518, and North Carolina at .393.
  • Of states with more then 5 Div I-A temas, heres how it broke down: FLorida had the highest winning percentage at .626, with California is second with .607, Ohio in third at .533, and Texas last with .528 (blame Rice). California had the highest BCS team winning percentage at .729, followed by Texas (.681), Flordia (.653), and then Ohio (.609, counting only tOSU and Cincinatti.)

Even with several teams having down seasons, the state of Florida seems to be the best. But something tells me FIU and FAU are going to drop them down a few notches in the SoS department...

Now this is all fine and dandy, but can we actually draw something from all of this. Well, not really, but In Part Dos of our preview tomorrow I will take a look at the Average Strength of Schedule of these teams. With this in mind, I will be able to determine, statistically speaking, which state fields the best Div-IA football teams.

Tomorrow and Thursday will consist of coverage from Media Day.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Sad Tale

The Annapolis Capital reports that Navy Coach Paul Johnson has not only confirmed the suspension of Karlos Whittaker from the Navy football team, but has also made it known that the talented sophomore running back has been separated from the Academy. Whittaker was originally suspended for an undisclosed infraction of team rules back on May 15th. Whittaker, at 5-11 195, established himself last year as a prime backfield threat, raking up 6 touchdowns and nearly 900 yards of total offense. An explosive back with good speed and strength, his advent into an everyday role looked to signify a new -breed of talent to this Navy team. Unfortunately the Freshman's season was cut short when he tore his ACL against Temple on Nov 19th, but was said to be rehabbing quite well in the off-season.

The Capital reports that he has yet to make plans on transferring, although it seems safe to assume his talents could easily fit into any number of Div 1 programs.

To add insult to injury, up and coming Junior CB Greg Thrasher will sit out the year to concentrate on Academics. Thrasher was expected to either start or backup Cornerback Jeremy McGowan, and be worked into more pass-oriented defenses'. He is most remembered, however unfortunate, for missing an easy 4th down tackle against Maryland which would have sealed the game.

On a lighter note, the first pre-autumn practice Depth Chart has been released.(HT PhatPhelix over at Aside from the absence of Thrasher, the only other oddity seems to be at Right tackle, where Andrew McGinn sits in front of Joe Person. Should be an interesting battle to follow in the upcoming weeks. Interestingly enough, Mr. Thrasher is still sporting his own achievments as a Navy football player. But hey, if I was a Div I football player I would too...

Only 29 days until Boston College kicks off at Central Michigan to start the season, and only 31 days until ECU drops their opener at Navy!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

If this doesn't get you pumped up...

Hats off to PhatPhelix, who has once again produced another great Navy Football highlight video. If this one doesn't get you pumped up for the ECU game on September 2nd, I don't know what will...


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bad News for Duke,Good News for Us...

Duke's starting Quarterback, Zach Asack, has been suspended for the entire 2006 football season after being involved in a plagiarism scandal. The rinsing sophomore QB went 90 of 190 for 966 yards with a 5-8 TD-INT ratio last season in 7 games of work, and was expected to help lead a revitalized (if you could call it that) Duke offense this year.

His suspension puts the Duke coaching staff in a bind, especially since last year's backups Mike Shneider and Gene Delle Donne both decided to transfer in the off-season. This leaves only 2 scholarship QBs on Duke's roster, one of whom (Thaddeus Lewis) will be a true freshman. As of right now, the starter looks to be sophomore Marcus Jones, who saw more time as a receiver (11 catches and 1 TD) then as a QB (2-7, 6 yards, 1 INT) last season. Nebraska transfer and former prep-star Curt Dukes, is no longer on the team, leaving this unit with zero experience roughly a month before the season starts.

Three other players were suspended for the season, all of whom were in reserve roles last year. Receiver Deon Adams, Safety Andreas Platt, and lineman Joe Suder were all released from the team by Head Coach Ted Roof.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Moving on Up

As we prepare for the start of summer practices, Fan Day, and eventually the opener with ECU on September 2nd, I will work harder to bring you, the reader, with more detailed posts about the state of the 2006 Navy team and our opponents. In the 6 months or so that Pitch Right has been in existence, it has swelled from an unknown college football blog to one of the main gathering points for Navy fans across the internet. Not only has this blog caught the attention of Navy fans, but its increasing popularity amongst college football fans in general is a great and welcomed surprise. Keeping this in mind, I would like to inform you that I have recently been contacted to take my services onto a much larger platform, and to continue blogging about Navy football in a much more detailed and much more frequent fashion. You can expect multiple posts a day, and anywhere from 10-20 posts a week as we embark upon the journey which is the 2006 football season. During this time, I will continue to post on the present web address (sponsored by, and continue to try to bring you both commentary and analysis on Navy Football. Starting August 15th however, this current website will become much more national in its scope, with my new location focusing solely on Navy Football.

So what is this new gig I've got going? Well, I don't want to reveal too much right now, but I will say that it will be sponsored by AOL Sports and that I will be getting paid for it. I can also say that I will be churning out much more content then I am now, and that I will be taking a more active approach in covering Navy football. To be perfectly honest, it's almost like a dream job, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity. I'd like to thank you the readers for helping me make this blog into what it is, especially those of you who I know always take an active role in commenting (Navy94, PhatPhelix, frogman, everyone else). It’s because of you that I’ve been given this opportunity, and I only hope that I can continue to evolve as a writer and continue what I have started here.

God I cannot wait for Football Season


Monday, July 17, 2006

Mr. A: "Just call me Mr. Commish"

Bruce Ciskie has once again put out a call to arms for Bloggers around the net with a new BlogPoll question inspired by a recent article asking columnists what they would do if they were commissioner of a certain sport for a day. College Football columnists Stewart Mandel chimed in, as did CFR and Brian from the MGOBlog. After reading the various responses, (which all seemed to favor the 'bigtime' schools) I thought it would be appropriate to draw up my own "To-Do" list if I were the Commissioner of the NCAA. Here it is...

No More then 1 Div I-AA opponent

There has been a good deal of talk about not allowing Div IA teams play Div-IAA teams. I'm sorry, but I ain't drinking the cool-air on this one. You need to take this on a case-by-case level. Remember, not all Division I-AA teams "suck", and it gives programs on the Div-IAA level a chance to showcase their program on a greater stage. However, there is a difference between a great regional matchup like Massachusetts vs. Army and a not so great matchup like Texas Tech vs. Indiana State. No Division I-A team should play 2 or more Division I-AA teams in a single season (ahem, Texas Tech). To be perfectly honest, most of these teams are a good deal closer then you might expect, so I'm all for keeping one regional/sentimental matchup a year.

Clarify the Bowl Situation

There are now officially 32 Bowl Games sanctioned by the NCAA. I would, at most, cut a maximum of 3 of these games (The New Mexico Bowl, Birmingham Bowl. and the International Bowl). That would leave 58 slots open for teams to fill in these games. That's just a little under half of the teams that currently play Div-I ball. While a most of the leading minds will argue this is far too many Bowl games, I have a rather simple response. Why the Hell should it bother you? A fan of a top tier SEC, Big 10, or Big 12 team that is playing in one of the BCS games shouldn't take offense that a non-BCS school is playing in a game televised on ESPN2 and only taking about $750,000 from the game. As much as I hate any references to Marxist ideology, the argument of Bowl game always boils down to the Have and Have Nots of the college game. As a Navy fan, I know that a reduction in Bowl games would endanger my team's chances of making a postseason appetence, devoid me of a winter night watching football, and limit the exposure of the program in its attempt to reach recruits on a national level. As a fan of the "mid-majors" and the non-BCS teams, it limits my and other fans' ability to look at college football across the nation and assess the relative strength of each conference and to retain a grasp on teams we wouldn't ever see in the regular season. Yes, Bowl games are partially about TV ratings in money, but the die-hard fan, like me, isn't losing anything in the amount of games. We are only gaining! Just because Navy killed Colorado State in the Poinsettia Bowl last season doesn't make them equitable to Ohio State, who killed Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Yet it leaves me with a great feeling of anticipation for the future of the program and provided a great game to watch on television, which is what a Bowl game should provide.

Insitute a BCS playoff

Proving that Phil Steel has complete control over me, I'm going to go ahead and rep his BCS playoff system a bit, in which basically the #1 team plays the #4 team, while the #2 and #3 team play in the semifinals. Then the winner of each games plays, and whoever wins is the National Champion. Further questions should be directed to Phil.

Add a 9th or even a 10th Big East Team

And not Army, Navy, or Notre Dame. If necessary, move a Div-IAA team like Delaware, Massachusetts, or even Villanova (gotta rep the Catholic schools) up to the Big East. It may be ugly for a year or so, but it should work out nicely. See UCONN.

Bestow BCS Status to the Mountain West'

Utah and TCU are legitimate Top 25 teams with chances to win 10 games this season. BYU is on the verge of coming back onto the National stage, while Colorado State, San Diego State, and New Mexico all have cases for a winning season. Air Force and Wyoming aren’t bad, and even UNLV isn't horrible. This may be one of the most enjoyable conferences to watch, and is every bit as good, if not better, then the Big East.

Get more Games on TV

And not just cable, but Broadcast too. ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox should all have at least one game televised nationally during the day. CSTV games should be picked up by all the crappy ass stations nobody actually watches, including Univision, Discovery Health, Lifetime, and Pax (which some games are actually shown on). ESPN, ESPN 2, and TBS should specialize in showing night games.

Increase the Play of the Sun Belt or Move it Down to Div I-AA

I'm not rooting against the Sun Belt, as many of you are. Yet the conference just can't beat anyone right now except itself. It's starting to remind me of the Balkan Wars of the Pre-World War I era. Who really cares? To make the conference more competitive I would ban Non-Con games against BCS schools and encourage a rivalry with C-USA in a hope of slowly developing the Conference. If in 5 years a 'Belt still can't upend Rice, it's time to cut the fat.

Make Atheletes Smarter

I don't care how we do it, but we need to get back to the educational part of college. I would hire Craig Krenzel, who as you all know majored in nanomicroastrobiological genomics, to lead a new "Center for College Football players who can't read good and want to learn how to do other academic stuff good too center."

Ban Rap Music at Games

Except at games with substantially large African American contingents, Rock, Classic Rock, Southern Rock, and Country Rockability music should be the only music played. The Imperial Theme from Star Wars is also acceptable. Anyone caught wearing a t-shirt from one of these emo bands shouldn't be allowed in the stadium. Teams that allow female popstars or male boy bands sing at halftime will receive the "Death Sentence."

No More Lego's or Star Wars

I apologize to my fellow Navy fans in advance, but I too am sick of the Lego's. Army's video people are lightyear's ahead of us, and all because of the damn Lego star wars people. The Fresh Mid and the Can't State videos show promise, but for now the NCAA is going to have to impose a ban on stupid and not very creative video insults towards other teams. We should be coming up with stuff like this.

Keep the Native American Names

As long as a Native American tribe is cool with it, so should we. After all, shouldn't we honor the people who inhabited this country long before us? If it's particularly offensive we can change it, but frankly the image of an Indian Warrior on horseback conjures up a very masculine and romanticized version of history which you would like in your nickname.

C0me to think of it, I would be a great commisioner. That is until I would be caught embezzeling funds from the NCAA to pay of Phil Steele for gambling advice. Pardon the last couple of points, It was hot outside and my mind was wondering...

Monday Walkthrough

The premier Notre Dame blog on the internet, The Blue-Gray Sky, has released a preview of the different Quarterback's Notre Dame will face this year. They expressed some uncertainty regarding Brian Hampton, as we all do, but seemed to believe that he shouldn't cause Notre Dame any major problems defensively. Also of note are the writeups on Air Force QB Shaun Carney and Army QB Dave Pevoto. has begun rating all 119 Div I-A teams, starting with the very worse in numbers 100-119. Notables, and by "Notables" I mean teams on Navy's schedule, include Temple (119), Army (111), and Eastern Michigan (103). Interesting that Duke was not listed, even though the Blue Devil's will likely finish with only i win (against I-AA Richmond) this season. It 0nly confirms the amount of talent Duke has, and why this could be a trap game for the Mids. In my opinion, Army is ranked too low at 111, as the Black Knights are better then the entire Sun Belt and the bottom half of the MAC and WAC. I would have put the Black Knights in that 85-95 range.

Utah Blog Block U, which is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs to visit, has written one of the best previews I've seen for the Mountain West Conference this season. Even if I don't agree with several of the teams' final records (for instance Air Force is listed as only winning 2 games, only 1 in-conference), the reasoning is solid and JazzyUte shows he knows the MWC better then most of the "big" bloggers around.

Orson has published his "12 Steps to getting through the Offseason." As usual, great stuff from the jean short guys.

For you lazy ass video game geeks (and include me in this category), NCAA '07 comes out this week. The top rated Navy players will be (and I have this from a reliable source, aka the strategy guide); Adam Ballard (93 overall), Tyler Tidwell (89 overall), and Jason Tomlinson (87 overall). The overall team rating is a "C". I can smell CFN all over this one for the player ratings, seeing as they absolutely love Ballard and Tidwell.

Posting will be spotty this week, although I plan to start a small scale preview for each conference later today/tomorrow. I will be in the wilderness of Wyoming starting next week, so I will likely be out of touch for several days. After that we will go headlong into summer practices, and I hope a number of you will be able to make it to Fan Day on August 2nd. In the meantime, I recommend checking back with The Blue-Gray Sky, EDSBS, and CollegeFootballNews.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July Predictions

Ah, July. While unofficial practices for the 2006 season have already begun, we're still some weeks away from the heart of summer practices. Word out of Annapolis looks good, with heavy praise already being given to what looks to be the best Navy recruiting class in some time. We all know how high the bar has been set, and we all know how good this team can be, but now the real question comes; What will Navy's record be in 2006?

To answer such a question we must, as is inevitable with blogs like this, take a shot at predicting the upcoming season. This will be the first of two general season predictions, with the latter coming the week before the season kicks off against ECU on September 2nd.

East Carolina: Apparently, East Carolina is going to be really, really good this year. I say apparently because I have only been assured so much by numerous diehard Pirate fans across the internet. While I may be a tad bit biased against ECU, I don't see the Pirates picking up the upset that some have been calling for. ECU's rush defense was ranked 112th nationally last year, and despite the additional of three highly touted JUCO's at Linebacker, problems like that don't get fixed overnight. This is not to say the Pirates won't field a Bowl-caliber team and be competitive in CUSA, but I think when you look at the experience of this Navy team you have to give them the edge for what could be a back-and-forth game. This game will probably be decided by 10 points or less, but frankly I wouldn't be surprised to see Navy pull away from the Pirates, who feature a talented group of skill players offensively. As long as Navy can limit ECU's passing offense, this game should go in Navy's favor, especially with the veteran leadership the Mids have. Adam Ballard flat out runs over the ECU defense in this one. WIN 38-31

UMASS: Knocking UMASS just because it's a Div-IAA team doesn't make much sense, especially considering the Delaware loss of 2003. This years team has been ranked #8 in I-AA play by The Sporting News (Delaware was #13 if anyone was interested) and #14 by That being said, this Navy team is much farther along in it's progression then it was in 2003, and UMASS lost a good deal of talent last year to NFL free-agency. This may not be the blowout that everyone wants, but UMASS doesn't have much of a shot. WIN 42-17

at Stanford: After last year's close lost against the Cardinal at NMCM, some Midshipmen fans have been talking an upset at Stanford's new stadium this fall. Navy may actually be the favorite going into this game, but Stanford gets a bad rap on the National Level, which of course was aided by the embarrassing lost to UC Davis last year. Stanford, barring any major injuries, should win this game, as Trent Edwards enters his 2nd season in Walt Harris’s somewhat complicated offense. He has several good wide receivers, including future NFL prospects Mark Bradford and the 6'7 Evan Moore, who caught one TD last year (over Keenan Little's head) before suffering a season ending hip injury against Navy. The defense may not be as strong as last year, but the talent coming into Stanford should be just enough to lift the Cardinal over the Midshipmen in another close game. The story here will be similar to last year's, as the Navy offense just can't quite keep up with Stanford's. No shame in a loss here, as Stanford is certainly a bowl-caliber team. LOSS 45-35

Tulsa: This is a real tough game to call, and while it will be played at NMCM, I have to go with Tulsa on this one. The Golden Hurricane is one of the best Non-BCS teams out there, a notion which was well reflected by their 9-4 record last year, which included 31-24 victory over Fresno St. in the Liberty Bowl. QB Paul Smith is a competent passer, and the Hurricane boasts a much underrated O-Line and a talented group of running backs. The defense may be CUSA's best, with Nick Bunting leading a very good linebacking corps. I wouldn't be surprised if Navy won this game, and right now I'm really leaning 50-50 on this one, but I just think that Tulsa will really be playing well next year. This one is a tossup, but right now I'm going with a LOSS 24-21.

at UCONN: Another very tough call, one which I think most of the experts have as either going "our" way or as a tossup. I don't doubt that a few of you are scratching your heads saying "What the hell, it's UCONN?!?" Well, yes it is, but as the kids say, this ain't your daddy's Huskie team. Even as a very young and injury plagued team last year, the Huskie's managed to pull out a slightly below average 5-6 record. They are Quarterbacked by a young and dynamic athlete in DJ Hernandez, who really embodies the "duel-threat" role. Both the 0-Line and D-Line are solid, and running back Terry Caulley was one of the best in the country before and ACL slowed him down in '03. If Caulley is back to 100% and the Defense shows up, I could certainly see UCONN winning this game, especially since it's at Rentschler. As it stands now though, I give the edge to the Navy offense, with the defense able to hold what has been a mistake prone Huskie offense in the past. WIN 28-27

at Air Force: When I was first putting this preview together, I had Navy losing at UCONN and bouncing back against the Falcons, mostly because I needed another reason to help me justify a Navy victory in what figures to be a real dogfight out in Colorado Springs. I've read so many different things on this matchup, and almost none of them seem to come from objective accounts. The Air Force fans have already chalked this up in their preseason win predictions, while the Navy fans have chalked it up in theirs. Navy is certainly more experienced and talent, but something keeps telling me Carney is really going to emerge as a good Quarterback. Air Force's rushing game should be vastly improved, as it went most of last year with a variety of different injuries, while its defense didn't do to shabby against us in last year's meeting. To top it all off, this game is at Falcon Stadium against a team which has never won the CINC, and against a Coach who could be on the hot-seat. Still, I know Coach Johnson will have the guys prepared, and the shift in talent finally starts to take its toll as Navy wins this one on- what else- a Joey Bullen field goal. WIN 27-24

Rutgers: I still think Rutgers is underrated from a national perspective, and talent wise certainly one up's (or two up's for that matter) the Midshipmen. A veteran O-Line paves the way for the monster-of-a-man Fullback Brian Leonard and the speedy Ray Rice, while QB Mike Teel has the opportunity to shine with All-Big East TE Clark Harris. However Rutgers loses both of it's DE's to the NFL, and despite having what may be one of the Big East's best secondaries, will yield more yardage to Navy on the ground. Because this is Homecoming at NMCM, I'm going to give the edge to Navy to knock off what will be a Bowl-bound Rutgers team. WIN 35-21.

Notre Dame (Baltimore): I have discussed this matchup in detail a number of times, most prominently right hyah. What more can you say? Coach Weis is an offensive genius, Brady Quinn is a Heisman candidate, Jeff Samardzija is an All-American, the O-Line is one of the nation's best, and you know that defense is going to get better. The Irish are on almost everyone's Top 10 list, and rightfully so. Not only is this Irish team loaded with talent, they have a master in Weis calling their plays. Last year the Irish had their way with the Mids, winning 42-21, although had the Irish been playing their starters the entire game or had Coach Weis been more inclined to show exactly how unclassy he was, it could have been worse. Don't get me wrong, Navy brings an improved team and this game should be competitive if the Mids can control the ball and slow down the Irish offense, but in the end Brady Quinn and Co. will find a way to pull away. LOSS 45-30

at Duke: As I pointed out in my Summer Duke Preview, the Blue Devils are actually an o.k. team talent wise. After the 28-21 scare of last year, I don't think anyone who follows Navy Football closely is counting on this being a blowout. Duke's defense has some big bodies up front, including Vince Oghobaase, a 6'6 325 pounder who chose Duke over Miami (the good one) and Oklahoma. Duke brings in the 36th best recruiting class this year (according to Athlon), and from what I can gather without actually having seen them play, the team is improving. But, and there is always a but, the Blue Devils still managed to finish 116th in total offense last year, and still have questions to be answered as far as the RB and WR positions go. An interesting note: Duke only has two scholarship QBs on the roster, which means if starter Zack Asack should go down, the Blue Devils could really, really have some offensive issues. This one is closer then I'd like, but it's a nice bounceback WIN 24-17

at Eastern Michigan (Detroit): Every year, the Midshipmen are bound to blow some God-forsaken team right out of the water (pardon the pun). With what should be the best Navy team in 40 years, this year is no exception, and when the Mids travel up to Detroit for this game (held at Ford Field) they will face what is by all accounts a very bad team. Anytime you’re facing a cellar-dweller in the MAC, you will probably have a good chance at winning, and this occasion will be no different as the Eagles gave up an average of 409 ypg last season. The offense remains a big question mark as a new QB and RB will start the season off. After what will surely be a Notre Dame loss, Paul Johnson will have this team focused to make the push for a Bowl, and depending on the amount of loses Navy will accumulate coming into this game (could be anywhere from 3-5), the intensity level will be turned up another notch. This is one of those all business wins, with every facet of the Triple Option working to perfection. WIN 52-24

Temple: Like Duke, Temple isn't as bad as they are made out to be, but then again when you go 0-11 you tend to get put in the "they suck" category. Last year's game was a little too close for comfort, considering Temple was actually leading at Halftime. Of course, as a 0-10 team that A) Probably didn't care too much and B) Hadn't ever held a lead before, the Owl’s proceeded to do a belly flop off the high dive and let Navy dictate the second half, eventually losing 38-17 to the Midshipmen. Under first year coach Al Golden, Temple will have to learn a new system and will likely come into this game with 0 wins (yes my friends, the Buffalo Bulls will prevail in the Week 1 slugfest between #118 and #119). Still, I expect Temple to be playing with reckless abandonment, and with a fairly talented cast of skill players and what looks to be a very meaty D-Line (which stopped us cold in last year's first half), I would expect the crowd at NMCM to release a collective "WTF" at Halftime. Yet, as it often does, history will repeat itself, and there is no way such a good Navy team allows themselves to be dictated by one of the worst teams in the nation. The second half is a blowout as Navy opens up the passing game. WIN 42-24.

Army (Philadelphia): The Black Knight's will be better this year, at least I hope (as I know all of you do). I see them finishing with 5 or 6 wins, which will be a step in the right direction for Bobby Ross's program. The defense, save the secondary, and the o-Line are veteran, and the WR group may be Army's best in several years. However serious questions remain about the ability of Dave Pevota to lead to offense, which will lean more towards the run this season. The Black Knights lose their top 3 rushers, including standout Carlton Jones and Scott Wesley. Even though this is a improved Army team, from last year's Army-Navy game it's apparent the Midshipmen are just farther along in their progression as a program then the Cadet's are. This one will start to show Navy’s talent pulling away, as the Mids picks up the WIN 45-21.

Final Regular Season Record: 9-3

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Phil Steele: Need We Say More? Yes, In Fact, we do...

We all know how great Phil Steele is. I don't need to sit here and say that his magazine has been the most accurate in terms of predictions for the past seven years running or how for only 9 bucks he provides 328 of both useful and useless (but always welcome) college football information. But considering I just told you anyway, you can probably guess the direction this post is going in.

While nursing a serious case of bored-out-of-my-ass this morning, I decided to flip through my 'Steele and just randomly start reading. Somewhere after actually taking a dangerously high interest in the positioning of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th best teams in the Sun Belt, I ran across an ad for Now, as someone who has more or less skimmed over every one of those 328 pages, I can tell you I had in fact visited the famed Guru's site in the past. Obviously those 7 years slaving in the underground of Athens, GA, or wherever Phil actually writes this stuff, didn't serve to help his web development skills, as I can say without a doubt that the web site kinda sucked. Aside from ordering his magazine, a visitor really couldn't do anything. There was no content, there were no statistics, hell there wasn't even a picture of the guy. This last pint was very disconcerting.

Anyway, whatever my motives were, I decided to check back with the old ' today, and was overjoyed to find an actual Question and Answer section with the man behind the mask. Finally, a chance to interact with a real expert! No more arrogant columnists who don't even address your question, instead choosing to merely pass the issue by for some lame answer I could get from any bum on a message board (or worse yet a blogger). Not only that, I seemed to have found the only full body (actually its kinds like 3/5ths of a body) photograph of the amazing analyst himself…

Yes Friends, this Greek god of College Football sports a receding hairline, mustache, and the thumbs up signal. Good Call Phil. I'm sure T. Kyle King would be proud.

Phil seems to be the kind of guy you really can't debate with, kind of like those arrogant lawyers from the ACLU who hold you up in all that legal mumbo-jumbo. Case and point the Q&A section. When a reader asked about why in the hell he has Oklahoma at #1 (which a lot of bloggers have been asking), he proceeds to smother said reader and any other lowly website visitors with a plethora or facts and passed circumstances that, if unable to convert you to his viewpoint, serve to temporarily paralyze you from even thinking of some kind of rebuttal. The same goes for the question about Kent State. After checking it in Microsoft Word, Phil writes a 1226 word answer to the simple quesiton of how he could pick a 1-10 Kent State team to win the MAC East. Now, who in the hell else can even write 1,226 words on Kent State? I sure as hell can't, and I'm someone who actually cares somewhat about the MAC (although come to think of it, who among us can really write 1,226 words about the MAC?) After such an answer, I don't even want to think, and am perfectly content on saying something along the lines of "Whatever you say, like I care who wins the MAC East and plays in the GMAC Bowl."

Another fan dared to make a statement on how he wouldn't buy a 'Steele because it was a "gambling magazine." Not only is the fan in question an idiot for not buying a 'Steele, he pretty much provokes a Sodom and Gomorrah response in which, let's face it, survival is impossible. For God's sake, Phil even breaks out a graph on this one to show the fan how he can't possible be correct in calling his beloved creation a simple "gambling magazine." The nerve of some folks.

But damn, I tell you, that man certainly knows what he is talking about. I’ve decided to draft up a quesiton for his website, although considering his responses, it may take e a few days to draft just the right one. Another interesting thing of note is that Phil has a number you can call to schedule him for a radio show. I'd love to see this guy on an EDSBS podcast. Someone should convince Orson to pull up some of his connections.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Weekly Notes

I hope that everyone had a great holiday, and once more I hope everyone still has all their limbs in order after taking the drive up to your nearest "Fireworks are legal hyah" state. God Bless you for not buying those cheap ass can't-get-off-the-friggin'-ground sparklers they sell here in Maryland. In case you haven’t been paying attention to the football world in the past week, I've got a rundown on what's going on with Navy.

Navy released its list of the 51 commits to the program this past week. Left off the original list, but certainly not forgotten was Ryan Campbell of the infamous football factory they call the Hunn School. Campbell, at 6'3 225, has good speed (4.6 40 time) and was rated as a 3 star by Rivals. The main preseason for signing with Navy? As the incoming freshmen put it; "The main difference in the two was the location. Once you're out of West Point, there's really nothing to do. Annapolis is in a great location. Navy has also won three straight bowl games."

ECU fans continue to advocate the resurgence of their program, starting with a win over Navy on Sept. 2. I'm not even going to jump into this one anymore, as the Pirate fans have assured me that their pass-happy offense can, and will, have it's way with Navy's defense, and that their own rush defense (ranked in the bottom 10 last season) has solved Navy's Triple Option a full two months before the actual game. In related news the line for the game was just released, putting Navy as an 11.5 point favorite.

The Navy-Eastern Michigan game will be televised on "Comcast Local TV" on Nov. 11th. I have no idea what this means, so your guess is as good as mine. I would personally love to see this game on television though, as E. Michigan might be the worst team Navy plays all year, and it's always fun to watch a Triple Option blowout. In case you haven’t picked up your local Phil Steele magazine (and with only 250,000 in print I won't hold that against you), you may want to check out a very concise preview of E. Michigan hyah.

Jump into this one at your own discretion, as the Air Force forum debates/beats each other over the head over the strength of schedule in regards to both Air Force and Navy. Granted, Air Force plays a stronger schedule, but Navy has won the head to head matchup for the past 3 years. If your anyone who knows anything about football, you know that scheduling differences don't mean a thing if your team won the Head to Head. And just for clarification, Navy beat both of the Common Opponents (Colorado St. and Army, and by large numbers may I add) while Air Force loss to both of them.

Can you believe that how close we are? Only a month and a half until Boston College and Central Michigan kick off the 2006 college football season!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th

Happy Independence Day