The wise folks in Las Vegas have the Midshipmen winning this game once again, but the fearless journalists here at Gannett Government Media aren’t so sure. An informal poll of our staff experts was split 50-50. See below for the logic behind the picks:
(The person who comes closest to the actual final score will dress up in a cheerleader outfit on Monday.)
Kate Brannen, reporter for Defense News
Why: I love an underdog. I hope Army breaks its losing streak tomorrow and wins. I bet it’s going to be a tight game.
Score: Army 21, Navy 17
Philip Creed, Web editor
Why: This rivalry will survive if Army loses again, but it sure would pep things up if the Cadets can steal one Saturday. Unfortunately, the Black Knights are atrocious on the road, and the lynchpin of their offense — quarterback Trent Steelman — is coming off of multiple injuries.
Army was 3-1 this season at Michie Stadium (and had bowl-bound San Diego State on the ropes in the one loss) but were a putrid 0-7 on the road or in neutral locations. Only one of those losses — a 35-28 defeat to Miami (Ohio) — was even close. For whatever reason, this team doesn’t travel well, and there’s no reason to believe that will change this week.
Score: Navy 27, Army 13
Michael Hoffman, procrastinator for Defense News
Why: This is West Point’s year. Junior quarterback Trent Steelman used the past three weeks to recover from the injuries that have plagued his season, and he’ll lead Army to its first win over Navy since 2001.
Score: Army 21 Navy 14
Chris Kelly, Web producer
Why: As much as I’d like to pick Army, I can’t for one reason. Fullback Alexander Teich. It’s his final game in a Navy uniform and he’ll be motivated to go out on top. On the season, he has 793 yards on 168 carries, which is second on the team behind Kriss Proctor (938 yards). Teich rushed for only 69 yards in Mids final loss at San Jose State, but I see him bouncing back and having one hell of a performance before heading off to become a SEAL.
Army is coming off three straight losses, including a 42-14 loss at Temple. Quarterback Trent Steelman looks to start, but has faced injuries all season. With his status in question, Army’s offense losses a good deal of experience at the most crucial position.
Final score: Navy 24, Army 10
Kevin Lilley, copy chief for Navy Times
Why: Nobody likes to play these things down the middle, but it’s fair to say that Army’s top-ranked rush offense and Navy’s fourth-ranked rush offense are practically identical, from a statistical standpoint (5.59 yards per carry vs. 5.50 ypc). Both teams are going to run. Both teams are going to try to stop the run. It should be a dead heat on the ground.
That means sombody’s gonna have to pass. And Navy’s got the slight edge with a healthy quarterback in Kriss Proctor (Army’s Trent Steelman should be near 100 percent, but it’s uncertain how “near”) and three players — Gee Gee Green, Matt Aiken and Brandon Turner — who’ve at least cracked double digits in receiving. Army has zero.
Final score: Navy, 31-28
Sean Smyth, Web editor
Why: Why? It’s time, friends, it’s business time.
Final score: Army, 14-10
Blair Tomlinson, Web producer
Pick: I’m picking Army!
Why: The Black Knights aren’t going to let the Midshipmen have a decade of victory, hopefully. They’ll have to rely on their run game to get into the endzone.
Truthfully, that is the extent of my knowledge, my pick is based mostly on the fact that my father served in the Army – so GO ARMY BEAT NAVY!!!
Final score: 35-28, Army.
Marcus Weisgerber, reporter for Defense News
Why: As the son of a sailor, I have to go with the Midshipmen. Go Navy! Beat Army!
Score: 31-17, Navy