Navy Midshipmen 2010 schedule analysis and forecast
The Navy Midshipmen are definitely a Top-25 contender. Navy brings back 15 starters from a team that won a seventh straight Commander-In-Chief's Trophy and made a seventh consecutive bowl game last season.
The Middies were 10-4 in 2009, punctuated by a rout of Missouri in the Texas Bowl. It was just the third time in school history that Navy won 10 games. Quarteback Ricky Dobbs was a beast last year and he’s back for his senior season. He is probably the best signal-caller at Navy since Roger Staubach, although it’s more due to his legs. Dobbs rushed for 27 touchdowns last season, an NCAA record for a quarterback. He played a role in 33 of the Mids’ 51 touchdowns in 2009 (six passing) and his 198 points set a school record.
Dobbs played with a broken kneecap in the last six games but still rushed for 1,192 yards and passed for 1,031. Dobbs joined Craig Candeto (2003) and Chris McCoy (1997) as the only Midshipmen to run and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season – only 37 QBs have accomplished the feat in NCAA history. Navy returns its top six rushers and four of its top five receivers. However, its two top tacklers (and five of Top 10) are gone.
Here is Navy’s 2010 schedule:
Sept. 6 vs. Maryland (Baltimore)
Sept. 11 vs. Georgia Southern
Sept. 18 at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 2 at Air Force
Oct. 9 at Wake Forest
Oct. 16 vs. Southern Methodist
Oct. 23 vs. Notre Dame (East Rutherford, N.J.)
Oct. 30 vs. Duke
Nov. 6 at East Carolina
Nov. 13 vs. Central Michigan
Nov. 20 vs. Arkansas State
Dec. 11 vs. Army (Philadelphia)
The Middies have to lead Division-I in neutral-site games. They will play four teams that played in a bowl in 2009, including two conference champions in Central Michigan and East Carolina (both of which have a new coach this year). Navy simply has to reach six wins to play in the Poinsettia Bowl. That’s a lock.
The Terps shouldn’t be much of a problem for Navy as they were the worst team in the ACC last year and seem to be a program going backward. The one benefit for Maryland is that it can at least practice defending the triple-option all summer if it so chooses. That didn’t help Ohio State at the start of 2009, however.
Georgia Southern used to be arguably the best I-AA program around but is coming off a 5-6 season that cost coach Chris Hatcher his job. It’s hard to see the Eagles putting up much of a fight. The Midshipmen could start 4-0 before being truly tested by Wake Forest.
The SMU game should be a total shootout because the Mustangs can score points aplenty under coach June Jones but can’t stop anyone. Navy has had Notre Dame’s number in two of the past three years – both of those coming in South Bend. I think Brian Kelly changes things for the Irish.
East Carolina is a very underrated program, but the Pirates have to replace coach Skip Holtz and only have seven starters back. And Central Michigan won’t have Dan LeFevour this year. Arkansas State will be a cakewalk and Navy has beaten Army eight years in a row and denied the Black Knights from their first bowl in 13 years with 2009’s 17-3 win (although Army did actually lead in that game – its first lead in the series since 2006).
I have yet to see any NCAA over/under win totals, but I would guess Navy’s will be 8.5 or so. I think the Middies go 9-3, losing at Wake Forest, to the Irish and either ECU or SMU.