Alabama vs. Auburn was an outstanding rivalry matchup this year.
USC vs. UCLA had a brawl among fans before the game, showing how bitter that rivalry is.
Texas vs. Oklahoma has had national title implications in the past.
And of course, Ohio State vs. Michigan has always ended the Big Ten season, usually with one or both of the teams traveling to the BCS after the season is over.
But, without question, the best, longest-standing and most meaningful rivalry in all of college football is this Saturday, ending the college football regular season.
The Army and Naval Academies will face off on Saturday, December 11th for the 111th meeting between the two teams. The festivities start the night before, with a pep rally, because the fans and cadets will fester their excitement right up until the gates open at 10:30 A.M.
Kickoff is at 2:40 P.M., and the game will be broadcast live on CBS.
I will be live at the game in the press box and will be giving LIVE game updates and notes throughout the game on twitter. I’ll be answering any questions about the game and also giving some scouting insight, as well as overall game and stadium notes. (www.twitter.com/NFLHouse)
Here are some notes for the upcoming game:
-Since 1890, these two teams have played exactly 100 times, with Navy having the slight edge in the series, 54-49, with seven ties. The deadlock between the teams ended in 2006, in the midst of the Navy's most recent route of Army in the past few years.
-Navy has been on an eight-game winning streak against Army and has won nine of the last 10 games. In this current eight-game winning streak, Navy has outscored Army 291-74, an average of a 27-point deficit in Navy’s favor.
-Last year, in Rich Ellerson’s first year as coach at Army, was the first time since Army’s last win in 2001 that Army held the Midshipmen to under 25 points.
-Ken Niumatolo has been the head coach at Navy for two years now but has been a part of this rivalry since 2002, as a coordinator. Ellerson, formerly head coach at Cal-Poly University, gave the team its most victories since 1996 last year.
-Army will be playing in their first bowl game since 1996. They’ll play a June Jones led SMU team in the Armed Forces Bowl. Navy will face San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl.
-Interesting connection between these two head coaches. Ellerson formerly played at the University of Hawaii and became a coach on the staff in the early 80s. In 1983, Ellerson recruited a quarterback to the team, Niumatolo. Ellerson and Niumatolo were on the same team and eventually the same staff for the next few years until both moved on. Both have great respect for each other as coaches and do talk outside the game.
-Both Army and Navy have under 1,200 yards passing and over 2,700 yards rushing. However, Navy had over 300 yards more passing, five more passing touchdowns, almost 500 yards more rushing and two more rushing touchdowns for the year.
-Army had five players with over 45 rushing attempts and three-plus touchdowns.
-Ricky Dobbs was the leader in all passing categories and all rushing categories. His top threat in the passing game was receiver Greg Jones, who had 554 yards and four touchdowns.
-Army defensive standout Josh McNary, defensive end, was named to the Burlsworth Award watch list. The award goes to the player who has had the most impact on his team, despite being a walk-on. The other finalists are Ryan Winterswyk of Boise State, Sean Bedford of Georgia Tech, Nick Reveiz of Tennessee and Bryant Ward of Oklahoma State.
-Some players to watch for the game that possibly have NFL potential if they didn’t have military obligations: McNary and Stephen Anderson at linebacker for Army. For Navy, quarterback Dobbs, receiver Jones and cornerback Mario Washington.
Prediction: Navy 24-17 Army
-Ellerson is on the right track with this Army team, and they should start to be a little more consistent and competitive than in the past eight years. However, Dobbs should be too much for this Army defense to handle. This game could get out of hand, but I’ll expect Army to be ready to roll now that, for the first time in 14 years, they are going to the postseason after the game is over.