You've Got To Compare

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Well, I guess you don't have to... I purposefully go for long stretches without comparing Army and Navy on the gridiron. Army has been playing catch up for years now and are just now finding some stable footing in the coaching department. The schemes are right, the mindset is right - I have no reason to think that Ellerson isn't the right coach for the job.

Navy found coaching stability by promoting Niumatalolo from within Paul Johnson's staff. Their success against the Cadets can't be argued.

 The Mids have won nine straight games against the Black Knights, the longest stretch of dominance by either side in a series entering its 112th meeting. Navy’s average victory margin in that span is 25.7 points, and the Mids have yet to lose since Paul Johnson was hired and installed the current triple-option attack after the 2001 season.

That's a convincing stretch of games for Navy... one that has defined the recent Army/Navy Navy/Army series. Game notes (PDF)

The Mids have won the last nine encounters in very convincing fashion, outscoring Army 319-91 in those showings. Navy posted the series’ most lopsided back-to-back victories in 2002 and 2003, winning those contests by a total of 74 points.

Army has been outscored 319-91. Army can chill with direct comparisons until they can beat Navy.

Has Army closed the talent gap? Well, it has clearly been a large gap. Very large, 0-for-9 large; 319-91 large. Both teams are home for the postseason, but the last decade's worth of dominance gives Navy every right to brag about a percieved talent gap. They earned it... Navy: go ahead and boast. Once Army gets the next win in the series the talent gap talk is over.

Well, over that is,  until Navy decides about  membership in the Big East.

The story broke today that Houston, SMU, San Diego State, Boise and UCF will join the Big East.

As per usual, the additions don't strengthen the league - but the current BCS rankings of Houston and Boise should save the league's BCS bid for the next evaluation term. The problem is that the constant evacuation of good teams in legitimate eastern markets has made the future Big East neither big nor eastern and definitely raises questions about the league's status as a BCS auto-qualifyer.

Navy is no guarantee for the Big East.

The Big East is hoping that Air Force can round on the west and Navy the east. But, for now, that's still just a plan.

...just as the Big East is no guarantee for Navy's success.

If Navy goes they will lose control of most of their schedule and will, at least for a while, participate in a BCS conference presumably against BCS talent.

That is a tougher go than what Army tried in the Conf. USA, but it is clear that Navy has the benefit of having a program that is pointed in the right direction. They aren't going to experiment with a pro-set, but they won't have many easy games week to week. My main concern is that Navy will languish in the conference with below-BCS-level talent but stockpile the top service academy candidates by virtue of the Big East auto-bid.

I have no idea how it will turn out, but as long as Army stays independent I don't care even a little bit what anyone else in eastern football does.

Conference membership could sink Navy as a program, but at the same time bolster their CIC trophy aspirations.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.




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