Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (5-2)
Navy has won eight or more games each of the past six seasons and despite playing one of the toughest schedules in recent Naval Academy history, the Mids are well on their way to another stellar performance this year.
Although Navy has lost to Ohio State and Pittsburgh, they’ve handled the teams they’re supposed to beat, including rival Air Force to take a leg up in the annual Commander-in-Chief ‘s Trophy race, which also includes Army. The Midshipmen’s schedule does become more difficult in the second half, but so far, Navy has proven it’s up to the challenge.
Best-case scenario: Navy needs seven wins to become eligible for the Texas Bowl, but what would make this season the sweetest for the Mids would be capturing their seventh consecutive Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy by beating Army and defeating rival Notre Dame, who they’ve only beaten once since 1963. Sure, the Mids could go 10-3, but it will be sweeter with those wins in hand.
Worst-case scenario: The second half of the season is littered with strong teams which could wreak havoc on the Mids season especially if quarterback Ricky Dobbs can’t be the player he’s been the first half of the year. Dobbs suffered a knee injury last weekend and has been held out of practice so far this week. There’s no word about the results of his MRI, but if it’s bad, that could mean bad things for what has started out as a tremendous season for Navy.
Prediction: Navy notches an eight-win regular season and wins its seventh consecutive Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. They play in the Texas Bowl, which is guaranteed with seven wins, and continue the strong winning tradition that has thrived for the better part of this decade.