The 119th edition of the Army-Navy game will take place in the familiar confines of Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, and Jeff Monken’s Black Knights will be looking to extend their recent dominance over their arch rival.
Army broke a 14-year losing streak against the Midshipmen in 2016, made it two in a row in 2017, and can now make this whole “beating Navy” thing a proper trend with a third-straight victory over that school in Annapolis.
The 2018 season suggests the Knights are in good shape to make it a three-peat. Army’s nine wins before the final game of the season are the program’s most since 1996. Five of those victories came over bowl eligible teams — though a lineup of Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Hawaii, and Liberty isn’t exactly a murderer’s row. The Golden Knights’ best performance may have come in a defeat when they pushed College Football Playoff appointee Oklahoma to its limits in a 28-21 overtime nailbiter.
Navy faced a significantly tougher lineup this fall and struggled against quality programs along the way. The Midshipmen went 3-9 in 2018, beating Memphis and zero other bowl-eligible teams. Six of their losses came by double-digits.
But the rest of the season doesn’t matter when Army and Navy meet on neutral ground. For six hours in early December, the rest of college football fades away from walk-on until the alma maters are sung. And the team who gets to sing last isn’t necessarily the one who had the better season or who has the better players — it’s the team who came out the hungriest and upon whom the football gods shined the brightest