Poinsettia Bowl dump

A lot to discuss and not much time to do it in.

Navy's season

The Midshipmen enter the Poinsettia Bowl with an 8-4 record. It's been a historic season for Navy, as they defeated Notre Dame for the first time in 44 years. But it was also a season where Navy had some inexplicable losses, as well. Sound familiar? Well, it's kind of like how Utah's season played out. Never the less, here's a look at Navy's season.
Opponent Result W/L
@ Temple 30-19 W
@ Rutgers 24-41 L
Ball State 31-34 L
Duke 46-43 W
Air Force 31-20 W
@ Pitt 48-45 W
Wake Forest 24-44 L
Delaware 52-59 L
@ Notre Dame 46-44 W
@ North Texas 74-62 W
Northern Illinois 35-24 W
Army 38-3 W

Now the common opponent between the two is Air Force. Utah lost to the Falcons in the second game of the season, while Navy beat them. However, this game doesn't mean much, since the Utes were without Brian Johnson and their starting running back, as both went down a week prior against Oregon State. I think most fans feel that had Utah played Air Force later in the year, they would have won.

Out of Navy's schedule, their victory over Notre Dame is pretty impressive. Mostly because they have nowhere near the talent level of the Fighting Irish and were fighting 44 years of failure. So the Irish went 3-9, it was still a monumental victory.

Yet on the other side of the spectrum, Navy's loss to Delaware has left many people scratching their heads. While Delaware is a strong D1-AA team, that still doesn't explain how the Navy defense could give up 59 points. The same could be said for their losses to Ball State and their close victory over North Texas. If this shows us anything, it's that Navy's defense might be the worst in the nation. But regardless of their victories and losses, the Midshipmen still managed to have a fairly successful season. So successful, in fact, they lost their head coach.

Navy's bowl history

Navy has a pretty strong bowl tradition, especially over the past few years. Under the leadership of Paul Johnson, Navy has now been invited to 5 consecutive bowl games (just like Utah). In the past four bowl games, the Midshipmen are a respectable 2-2. Those victories were over New Mexico and Colorado State. Navy is 3-0 against current Mountain West teams in bowl games, as they also defeated BYU in the 1978 Holiday Bowl.

Some other impressive bowl games Navy has played in are the 1924 Rose Bowl (a tie with Washington), the 1955 Sugar Bowl (a victory over Mississippi) and the 1961 Orange Bowl (a loss to Missouri). Navy has also played in the Cotton Bowl twice, where they are 1-1.

Ranking the positions

(1 Lowest, 5 Highest)
Team Quarterbacks RBs Receivers O-Line D-Line Linebackers Secondary Special Teams Coaching
Utah 4 4.5 3 4 4 2.5 5 4 4
Navy 4.5 4.5 2 2.5 2 2.5 1.5 4 2.5

I think ultimately the two offenses are evenly matched, however, Navy's defense just has not been consistent enough for me to say they're any good. The coaching difference is only because Navy will have an unproven man working the sidelines. While I don't think there will be an issue here, it's impossible to say, right now, that they are better off in terms of coaching than Utah. If Paul Johnson were to coach the bowl game, there is no question Navy would rank higher in that category.

Prediction

This will be a pretty entertaining game. If Utah's defense just plays well against the triple option, they should win. However, if Navy's offense rolls, I don't like Utah's chances in a shootout. Honestly, I want this to be a win, but I'm having some major doubts right now. That doesn't mean I expect a loss, it's just I really don't have a feeling either way. So I won't make a prediction, only to say that I hope my dream the other night does not come true. That dream had Utah losing either 27-17 or 28-13, I can't exactly remember. We'll see.

Finally...

Should the leprechaun be brought back?

The last time Lucky danced, Utah fell to defeat. Lucky's career total stands at 7-1, a pretty remarkable record, if you ask me. However, he is tainted by a loss. So should I bring him back for this game, or should Lucky retire for good? Click here to vote.
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