TUESDAY POLL: VETERANS’ DAY, FIGURING OUT THE ACC, AND BASKETBALL

It’s Tuesday once again. But it isn’t just any Tuesday, of course. It’s the second Tuesday in November, otherwise otherwise known as Veterans’ Day here in the Land of the Free. Considering this blog’s audience, it’s a pretty meaningful day; at least a little more than to the average American, anyway. We give thanks to those who have served. Those of us who have served remember the brothers and sisters that joined us, especially the ones who have passed away. People like J.P. Blecksmith, who gave his life four years ago today at Fallujah. While we remember all veterans today, take a moment to also remember the anniversary of J.P.’s sacrifice.

In last week’s poll, I asked who you’d want to face in the EagleBank Bowl. Not surprisingly, Maryland was the winner, with 21% of the votes. Playing someone new doesn’t outweigh the chance for you Anne Arundel County residents to stir up a little rivalry with your neighbors, it seems. My personal preference, Virginia, came in second. I like Virginia for a few reasons. They were a regular on Navy schedules from the late 60s into the 90s; George Welsh didn’t feel right beating up on the alma mater every year, so he stopped playing the Mids. Playing the Cavaliers again would be a lot of fun for me. It would also be good for the EagleBank Bowl folks, who would love to see a local team bring a crowd to match Navy’s. Virginia Tech would also fit the bill there, but chances are that both Virginia Tech and the Terps will be picked up by other bowl games long before the EagleBank Bowl gets the ninth pick.

The picture is a little clearer after this weekend’s games. Eight ACC teams are now bowl eligible: Florida State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Boston College, UNC, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. Virginia is one win away, at 5-5. Clemson, at 4-5, needs to win out to become bowl-eligible because they played two I-AA teams. They play each other next week, so only one of them will qualify. Duke is 4-5 and needs to win two out of their last three to be eligible.

The important thing to look at is their conference records. The “Boston College Rule” is an ACC rule that means that a bowl game can’t pick a team that’s more than a game behind the next highest team in the conference standings. So if UNC is 5-3 and Virginia is 4-4, a bowl game could choose UVa over UNC. If Virginia is 3-5, that bowl game would have to take UNC. Right now, Florida State and Wake Forest are both 4-2. Maryland, Miami, Virginia Tech, and UNC are 3-2. Georgia Tech is 4-3, Virginia is 3-3, Boston College is 2-3, Clemson is 2-4, and Duke is 1-4. Given all that, it’s hard to see how we won’t end up with Boston College or Duke. If Clemson manages to win out (they won’t), they will be with several other teams that will likely be at 4-4. They’ll get picked before they drop to #9. A bowl-eligible Virginia can’t finish any worse than 4-4 in the conference, either. There are a lot of games to be played, but it looks like the teams that don’t travel very well– Boston College and Duke– aren’t going to win enough games to force any bowl games higher up the ladder to pick them. So here’s what we gotta do:

  1. Root against Duke. Hard. They have to win 2 out of 3 against Clemson, UNC, and Virginia Tech, so hopefully this isn’t too much to ask.
  2. Root for Boston College. This is a tougher one. BC plays Florida State, Wake Forest, and Maryland, which is no easy stretch. If they win no more than 1 of those games, it’s pretty much a lock that they’ll end up in Washington if 9 ACC teams qualify.
  3. Root for Wake Forest to beat NC State this weekend. With 5 wins, there’s no way they can drop to #9.

After that, it’s a mess. If Clemson, Duke, and Virginia all fail to qualify– a real possibility– then we’ll start looking to the MAC.

But that’s enough of last week’s poll question. For this week’s question, we turn to basketball. It’s a huge weekend in Navy sports. By the time Monday rolls around, the basketball team will already have two games under their belts. The Mids play at Towson on Friday, then come home to play Howard on Sunday afternoon. You might think that expectations would be pretty high for Navy this year, considering that they broke through for a winning record and a second-place finish in the Patriot League last season. According to the preseason poll of coaches and SIDs, however, that’s not the case. Navy was picked to finish a rather absurd sixth in the conference.

Clearly, the loss of Patriot League POY Greg Sprink weighed heavily on the minds of the voters; enough that they didn’t think that Navy would be much of a team without him. I completely disagree. No one player will do everything that Sprink did, but the rest of the starting 5, plus the addition of Idaho transfer O.J. Avworo at point guard, should probably be even harder to defend. Don’t get me wrong; I have some serious questions about the program right now. Specifically, WHY IS EVERYONE LEAVING??? But for this year, I think Navy will be even better and should contend for the Patriot League title again.

Navy’s not the only team in the Patriot League with a lot of returning talent, though. American is the preseason favorite for a good reason. Who do you think will win the conference?

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26 Responses

  1. I’ve got another basketball related question; what will the effect of moving back the 3-pt line be? I haven’t watched the team much, but when I have the offense seemed to be predicated on trying to make at least 2/3 as many three-point baskets as the other team made two-point baskets. Will the 1-foot difference have any effect?

  2. It could. Then again, it seemed half our threes were shot from NBA-range anyway.

  3. Thanks for clearing us SOME questions with the ACC. Boston College looked pretty good against ND last Saturday. I hope we don’t play them. Virginia and Clemson would be very attractive
    You said, “If Clemson, Duke, and Virginia all fail to qualify – a real possibility – then we’ll start looking to the MAC.” So the natural question is what are we likely to get from the MAC? What bowl tie-ins does the MAC have? Ball State (9-0) is out – possibly a BCS bowl – certainly something better than EaglesBank. The rest of the MAC standings include W. Mich (8-2), Cent Mich (7-2), Akron (5-4), Buffalo (5-4), and Bowling Green (5-5). I don’t know much about how well any of them “travel”.

  4. If we draw BC or Duke, I predict this bowl will be our worst attended bowl game yet. Just no excitement in that match-up, coupled with the fact that the game is essentially a “home” game.

    I’m only 8 hours away, and, no way I’m making the trip in this economy for that match-up.

  5. Yeah, it’d be a dagger in all kinds of ways if we saw a rematch. I count BC as a rematch.

  6. Stephen Tyree is out for the year at Bucknell, btw.

  7. I was able to find bowl tie in info and answered part of my own question about possible match ups with the MAC. They have tie ins with the GMAC Bowl, the International Bowl and the Motor City Bowl. That puts EaglesBank 4th in line – and perhaps 5th if Ball State wins out and goes to a BCS bowl.

  8. Oh God if its Duke – I dont think they would bring more than 5,000 to the game.

  9. There are a lot of Duke alums in the DC area. I don’t think they want to see a rematch any more than we do, though.

  10. As we all hope for a Duke breakdown (they play at Clemson on Saturday, at Va Tech on 11/22, and at home against NC on 11/29), we are wise to keep an eye on the MAC. Ball State remained unbeaten as they defeated Miami (Ohio) on Tues 31-16. Last night Kent State beat Temple 41-38 and “Central Mich blows a 24 point lead but beat Northern Ill. in overtime 33-30.” Buffalo vs Akron tonight and Toledo vs W. Mich on Saturday.

  11. Just saw USA today and it had showers for tomorrow huge game- but online that says for later in the evening.
    Are we looking ok weather wise?
    I dont want to see 1 drop of rain that could affect our running attack and give ND another advantage.
    I recall when we had the better team and we went to friggin Dublin and played in wet and cold dreary weather and we lost because of that.
    We would have beat them anywhere in the states.
    MAN will ND and Charlie be DESPERATE!
    Advantage ? Us?

  12. Who has the advantage in a “bad weather” game? Good question! The first thing that comes to mind is SMU – but Notre Dame is a different team. And there is the question of turf. Our stadium turf was wonderful during the SMU game. What do they have in Ravens stadium? Finally there is the question of experience. Our team has been through it. Has ND had anything similar this year? (I can’t imagine more difficult conditions than the SMU game.)
    As to attitude advantage – check out the College Football News article on 11/11 by Adam Nettina. (There is a link to it on NavySports.com.) Excellent article.

  13. Will do Dave.
    My take is that ND will be under so much pressure (this will be their USC game) to win – Advantage NAVY!
    I think its up to the D- We will see 50 plus passes and will need to be taking the ball away with fumbles and intercepts.
    Get ND down early by 2 (TD) scores and they could crumble as their own fans at the game grumble.

  14. 50 passes, huh.

  15. You dont think so? More? I was too conservative?
    I see it coming as Uncle Charlie knows we can never put pressure on them and they never need to take a punter into any game against us.

  16. The game won’t be long enough for anyone to throw 50 passes.

  17. Nettina’s article includes the following comment:
    “…I see … the single most resolute college football team in the country, one which will fight and crawl its way to the very end of every game with only one goal in mind; victroy. I see a team, very simply, that knows how to win, and once more comes into this game having beaten their opponent a year ago.”
    If we are to beat Notre Dame, whatever he conditions, it will be because of attitude. The entire TEAM believes it can find a way and I believe they will also. It is a real pleasure to cheer for Navy each game game they play – but especially when they play Notre Dame or Wake Forest or Ohio State because the upside potential is so high!

  18. Every team believes it can find a way.

  19. Perhaps so – but half of them are wrong.

  20. Exactly.

  21. Every team SAYS they believe they can find a way. However, when it comes time to do it, most fail. We used to be that way, finding ways to lose games we should win.

  22. We’ve been right 66.67% of the time!
    If you go back to 2003, it’s 68.05% !!!
    On Saturday night, I BELIEVE those figures will be 70% and 68.49% respectively! What do you BELIEVE, Mike?

  23. That talking about “believe” makes for a pretty lousy blog…

  24. I’ll let someone else be the realist. I prefer to be the dreamer. That’s how this son of a Navy CPO got TO the academy and that’s how he got THRU the academy.
    And I like your blog very much – even when you tell it like it is and not like we want it to be.

  25. Hey, people who still recognize the line between “dreamer” and “realist” are fine by me. I only get annoyed with those who can’t.

  26. I’m watching the VT-Miami game right now. Good lord both of those teams are intense on the defensive side of the ball. I do not want to play against either one of those teams in a bowl. I would prefer a VA or BC match up.

    On the subject of ND, I reiterate – I hope we kick the crap out of ND and send fathead Weis to drown his sorrows in a box of Krispy Kremes.

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