Week 15 Recap
Navy Beats Army Again
by Dave Congrove
December 12, 2010
Navy beat Army 31-17 on Saturday to claim its 9th straight win in the historic rivalry and improve to 9-3 on the season. Army fell to 6-6, but the Black Knights had already secured their first bowl bid since 1996 and will face SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 30.
The Naval Academy will play in its 8th straight bowl game when it faces San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The Midshipmen improved their overall lead in the historic rivalry to 55-49-7, breaking the game open on a 98-yard fumble return with 1:35 left to go in the half. Army QB Trent Steelman lost the ball while trying to score from 3 yards out. At the time, the Black Knights could have cut Navy's lead to 17-14, but wound up trailing 24-7. It was the longest fumble return in Navy history. QB Ricky Dobbs also completed the longest TD pass in the 111-year history of the rivalry when he passed to John Howell for 77 yards to take a 10-0 lead less than 7 minutes into the game.
The bowl season kicks off on Saturday, December 18 with three games. I'll have a complete look at the bowl season in the coming days. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits from the season.
Miami (Ohio) was 1-11 a year ago in Mike Haywood's first season as head coach and was projected by the Congrove Computer Rankings to improve to 3-9 this year. Instead, the MAC title win earned the RedHawks a 9-4 record and a chance at a 10-win season when they face Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Cincinnati went from 12-1 in 2009 to 4-8 this season. The Bearcats were 12-0 last season when Brian Kelly left to take the head coaching job with Notre Dame. Jeff Quinn served as interim coach in the Sugar Bowl loss. Butch Jones was just 4-8 this year as the head coach with Cincinnati, representing an 8-win drop for the school in one season. The Bearcats went from conference champs to a 7th-place finish in the 8-team Big East.
Central Michigan was 11-2 in 2009 under Butch Jones when he left to take the Cincinnati job. CMU went on to defeat Troy 44-41 in the GMAC Bowl with Steve Stripling serving as interim head coach. Under first-year head coach Dan Enos, the Chippewas went 3-9 this year. The 8-win drop gave Central Michigan a 5th-place finish in the 6-team MAC West after it had won three conference championships in the previous four years.
Texas went from 13-1 in 2009 to 5-7 this year for an 8-win decrease. The Longhorns were 13-0 in 2009 before losing to Alabama in the BCS Championship game. Since then, with Mack Brown still as head coach, the Longhorns are just 5-8.
BOWLS CUT IT CLOSE
With a 35-game bowl schedule this year, 70 teams needed to reach at least 6 wins to avoid the possibility of having multiple teams with losing record in bowl games. 75 teams achieved 6 wins, but three of those schools were ineligible for various reasons - USC at 8-5 is on postseason probation; Idaho was 6-7 and needed to be 7-6 since it played a 13th game; Arizona State was 6-6 and needed to be 7-5 since it had two wins against FCS schools and only 1 can be counted toward qualification
That left a cushion of just two teams - Western Michigan and Temple. Due to bowl affiliation agreements with the various conferences, there were simply not enough slots available to fall to more than 4 MAC teams. As a result, the bids went to MAC East and conference champ Miami (9-4), MAC East runner-up Ohio (8-4), MAC West champ Northern Illinois (10-3) and MAC West runner-up Toledo (8-4). Western Michigan (6-6) and Temple (8-4) were the only bowl eligible teams left out.
Auburn (SEC), Oregon (PAC-10) and TCU (Mountain West) each head into the bowl season with unblemished records.
No team finished the season winless. However, four teams finished with just 1 victory - Akron, Memphis, New Mexico and San Jose State. Of those schools, SJSU is the only one that notched its lone win over a Football Championship Subdivision school and the only one that played last week. The Spartans lost 26-23 in overtime at Idaho.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams went 83-7 (.922) vs. FCS schools this season and are 547-49 (.918) in such games since 2003.
Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16
10/2: Cal-Davis 14, San Jose State 13
This year, 85 FBS teams played a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools played two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.
Boise State has streaks of 32 home wins, 62 regular season home wins, and 46 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (40-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 6-1 in their last seven matches against BCS conference schools. (Next: vs. Utah in MAACO Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22).
Auburn has 14 straight wins overall. (Next: vs. Oregon in BCS Championship game on Jan. 10).
TCU has 12 straight wins overall, 25 straight regular season wins, 20 straight home wins and 17 straight conference wins. (Next: vs. Wisconsin in Rose Bowl on Ja. 1).
Oregon has 12 straight wins overall. (Next: vs. Auburn in BCS Championship game on Jan. 10).
Virginia Tech has 11 straight wins overall. (Next. vs. Stanford in Orange Bowl on Jan. 3).
Oklahoma has 36 straight home victories. (Next: vs. UConn in Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
San Jose State has 10 straight losses overall. (Next: Season complete).
Memphis has 9 straight losses overall. (Next: Season complete).
New Mexico has 16 straight road losses. (Next: Season complete).
Dan Hawkins (Colorado), Tim Brewster (Minnesota) and Todd Dodge (North Texas) were each fired with games remaining. Here is how each of those teams performed under the direction of interim head coaches.
Hawkins' interim replacement at Colorado, Brian Cabral, went 2-1
Brewster's interim replacement at Minnesota, Jeff Horton, went 2-3
Dodge's interim replacement at North Texas, Mike Canales, went 2-3.