Erick versus Sam: Navy Top 25 Football Team Or Not?
When the AP and Coaches poll were released on Sunday afternoon, the Navy Midshipmen (5-0; 3-0 AAC) cracked into the top 25 on both of them (#25 in the AP; #24 Coaches).
Should Navy be among the Top 25 FBS school in the country? I am taking the pro side. My colleague Sam will be the con side. You, the readers, of course are the final judge on this debate. Let’s get it on!
Why Navy SHOULD be a Top 25 team:
First, up front and foremost, they have WON every game they’ve played, including three in their own American Athletic conference.
Second, when you are the #1 rushing offense in the entire FBS (414.2 yds per game; 6.5 yds per carry) that helps not only makes your second down very manageable; but it also eats up a lot of game clock. Long, sustained drives is something that will eventually wear down even the best of defenses.
Third, Navy is being good at not getting penalized. When you are averaging less than four yellow flags against you (3.8 per game for an average of 37.6 yards), you’re playing good, clean football and not tripping yourself up.
Fourth, they may not pass a lot (QB Zach Abey is only 16 for 40 after five games) but when 16 of those completions have resulted in five touchdowns, they pretty darn good!
Fifth, they don’t turn the ball over on offense. 367 offensive plays have been ran and Navy only has turned the ball over FOUR times (two INTs/two fumbles). For a time the relies heavily on it’s running game (350 of those attempts are rushing the ball) and you hold on to it, that shows discipline.
Erick’s Verdict: Navy has won three conference games, has a stellar rushing offense and not committing penalties or turnovers on offense. They definitely DESERVE a spot in the TOP 25.
Why Navy should NOT be a Top 25 team:
First and foremost, I want to give Navy props. They are a program that I have worked with for several years, and a group of coaches and players that I highly respect and admire.
That being said, this team absolutely does not deserve a place in the Top 25 in football.
“Well, Sam, they’re 5-0! Any undefeated team at this point in the season deserves to be ranked.” WRONG. You have to look deeper than their record shows, and look at who they’ve played and how they’ve played against them.
- Florida Atlantic (W 42-19): This team is the definition of rebuilding. They’ve got a new head coach, and a ton of new players. There was an almost 0% chance of FAU winning this game, but Navy at least showed some level of dominance in this one, the only instance of that so far this season.
- Tulane (W 23-21): This was arguably the worst team in the AAC last season, and they’re not much better this year. They’re the only winning team on Navy’s schedule so far, however, at 3-2, with wins over the likes of Grambling State. The fact that Navy barely won this game should speak volumes.
- Cincinnati (W 42-32): This team almost lost to Austin Peay. Enough said. Navy didn’t impress in this win either.
- Tulsa (W 31-21): If you thought Tulane was bad, Tulsa got blown out by them. Again, another game that had no business being close.
- Air Force (W 48-45): Navy at one point near the end of this one had a 5% chance of winning, and somehow pulled it out. Just another example of Navy getting lucky against an awful team.
This team has one of the worst passing offenses in the country, and a mediocre defense at best. They may be the best at running the football, but Army and Georgia Tech are right behind them; two failing programs who also have the advantage of boosted rushing stats by using the option offense, like Navy.
Sam’s Verdict: While their 5-0 record makes it enticing for voters to put them in the top group of college football teams, this team’s inability to prove that they can beat less-than-mediocre teams is more than concerning. We need to wait until they play anything that resembles a real opponent to judge them as even close to Top 25 caliber.