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ESPN College GameDay 2020: Week 15 Location Hosts, TV Schedule and Predictions

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 11, 2020

Army quarterback Cade Ballard, right, celebrates a touchdown with teammates Jordyn Law, Noah Knapp (65) and Mike Johnson (59) during an NCAA college football game against UTSA on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. Army won 28-16. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

For the Army and Navy football programs, one game matters more than all the rest. That would probably be the case even if either team ended up in the College Football Playoff.

The Army-Navy game is one of the top annual traditions in college football. And even in 2020, a year in which the sports world has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Knights and Midshipmen will be going head-to-head.

However, this year's game isn't taking place in Philadelphia (the site of the majority of the 120 games in the series) as originally scheduled. Instead, it will be played at Army's home field in West Point, New York, for the first time since 1943, with kickoff set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday on CBS.

Before that, though, ESPN's College GameDay will air live from West Point at 9 a.m. ET to preview the matchup and the rest of Saturday's action.

Here's a look at the full Top 25 schedule for Week 15 (along with a prediction for each game), followed by a breakdown of this year's Army-Navy matchup.

                         

Week 15 Top 25 Schedule, Predictions

Saturday, Dec. 12

No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas, noon ET, ESPN

No. 9 Georgia at No. 25 Missouri, noon ET, SEC Network

Illinois at No. 14 Northwestern, noon ET, ESPN2

Utah at No. 21 Colorado, noon ET, Fox

No. 13 Coastal Carolina at Troy, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN+

No. 17 North Carolina at No. 10 Miami, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Wisconsin at No. 16 Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

LSU at No. 6 Florida, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

No. 22 Oklahoma State at Baylor, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU

No. 15 USC at UCLA, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

San Diego State at No. 18 BYU, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Picks in bold.

               

Army-Navy Game Preview, Prediction

From 2002-15, this series was dominated by Navy, which won 14 straight meetings with its biggest rival. Army finally ended that run by winning three in a row itself from 2016-18. However, the Midshipmen went back on top with a 31-7 victory in Philadelphia last season.

This year, the Black Knights have a good chance of taking back control of the series. They are 7-2, with their lone losses coming against Cincinnati on Sept. 26 and Tulane on Nov. 14. And they have been successful running their triple-option flexbone offense, as they have seven players with 227 or more rushing yards.

It's been a long layoff for Army, though, as it hasn't played since a 28-27 win over Georgia Southern on Nov. 21. However, given the rivalry, it should have no trouble springing back into action Saturday. And it won't even have to travel for this year's matchup.

"We are excited we are able to play this game here for only the fourth time in history," Army coach Jeff Monken said, according to John Kekis of the Associated Press. "The state of our world right now has forced the game away from Philadelphia. It will be special to play it here. It will be very nostalgic and really a great piece in the history of this rivalry."

Navy has had some strong seasons in recent memory, but it has struggled in 2020. The Midshipmen are 3-6 entering this matchup, having lost four straight games to Houston, SMU, Memphis and Tulsa. Their most recent win came against East Carolina on Oct. 17.

Of course, if Navy beats Army, that will become its most memorable moment from this year.

"There's a chill that goes through you unlike any other game," Midshipmen coach Ken Niumatalolo said, per Kekis. "It's the craziest thing because you're in the locker room and it's quiet, a little bit serene, and then you step outside and there's this rush and you know it's different."

There won't be fans in attendance for the 121st meeting between these rivals, but because the game is being played at West Point, the entire Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets will be at the contest.

Before last season's game, the previous five meetings between Army and Navy were each decided by seven or fewer points. Expect this year's matchup to be competitive, as neither team is ranked and should be motivated to pull out a big win in this unorthodox season.

However, the Black Knights will come out on top this year. Their rushing attack (which ranks third in the nation with 296.7 yards per game) will be too tough for the Midshipmen to stop. And once Army gets a lead, it will keep the ball on the ground, run down the clock and seal a close victory.

Prediction: Army 24, Navy 17

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