The 2008 College Football Bowl season starts with the newest bowl game on the schedule. The Eagle Bank Bowl. This inaugural contest features the Wake Forest Demon Deacons(7-5) and the Navy Midshipmen(8-4).
This game features an underachieving Wake Forest squad and an overachieving Navy team which is what makes this bowl game interesting. What also makes this game interesting is that this is the second meeting between these two teams in the 2008 season.
The first game resulted in a 24-17 win for Navy. The loss for Wake Forest sent them in a downward spiral the rest of the year. Wake Forest was ranked 16th at the time of the upset versus Navy and they ended up losing two of their next three to Miami(FL) and to Maryland in a 26-0 debacle.
On the Navy side of things they have two big wins this year against Rutgers and Wake Forest and head coach Ken Niumatalolo has carried on the legacy and the efficiency on offense that Paul Johnson left behind.
Now when it comes to the game there are two emotional factors that will be key. Since the game is being played at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. the fan support will probably lean toward the Midshipmen. Another factor is that Wake Forest will be seeking revenge against Navy who sent them into a losing streak in the middle of the regular season.
For Navy to win they will have to control the game with their potent rushing attack led by 1000 yard rusher Shun White and Quarterback Kaipo-Noa-Kaheaku-Enhada. Enhada will have to make good decisions in that option offense to avoid 2nd and 3rd and long situations which plays into the hands of the Wake Forest secondary.
For Wake Forest to win Riley Skinner is going to have to make plays through the air to leading receiver D.J. Boldin because Wake Forests' top three rushers, including Skinner, combine for only 1032 yards with Brandon Pendergrass leading the rushing attack with 528 yards and five TD's.
My prediction for this game is as follows: Navy will pound the Wake Forest defense all day long and take home their first bowl win since 2005.
Final Score: Navy 28, Wake Forest 20