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Gridiron Battleground: A Salute to the Service Academies

by Employee ‎12-09-2011 01:45 PM - edited ‎12-09-2011 01:52 PM

SP005068.jpgI’ve discussed deep seeded rivalries and long held traditions in college football over the past few weeks, but this Saturday’s Army vs. Navy  contest is historically the most storied of them all.   This game pits one service academy against the other, where two rivals meet on the field to battle it out as the last game of the regular season and move on to serve with each other to protect and defend our country.  There is no other rivalry like it in college football.


Saturday at 2:30 p.m., fans will tune into CBS and watch the two service academies take the field for the 112th time since this series started in 1890. Navy leads the series with a record of 55-49-7.  For years, this game was played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving but has moved to the second Saturday in December as to not interfere with conference championship weekend, the first Saturday in December.


Neither team is bowl eligible this season but for both teams, that doesn’t matter because this is the key game each team prepares for every season.   And while Army or Navy may not go bowling in the post-season, both teams are ranked in the top four in rushing offense in the nation.  Army is #1 while Navy is #4.


From a historical perspective this proves to be a game where both teams leave it all out on the field, especially for the seniors, known as “First Classmen” because it is not only their final collegiate football game it is one step closer to graduation day and active military duty.


The intensity, discipline and passion each of the players and the fans for both schools have for the game are just some of the great traditions of college football. This is a game fans head into the stadium early to watch the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets march on the field, an awesome experience for those who have had the opportunity to see it in person.


While the rivalry and tension run high between both academies, the camaraderie remains after the final seconds tick off the scoreboard.  When the clock expires the winning team, out of respect, stands alongside the losing team while the defeated academy sings their alma mater. Upon finishing, both turn to the victorious team’s band while they sing their alma mater.  You don’t see that often in college football.


CBS Sports has been following both teams throughout the season.  A Game of Honor, will debut on Showtime on Dec. 21 and will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation that goes into this game, post game locker room atmosphere and more. 


As each team prepares for their final game of the season, one thing is for certain – you will not see two teams who respect each other more than these two service academies.


This Week’s Predictions:


College: Army vs. Navy – The Navy Midshipmen sail onto victory.


Professional: Giants @ Dallas – Giants do not want to suffer another epic collapse like they have in past seasons.  Giants need this win and will be ready to play at Dallas.





Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants RB – The division is on the line with the Giants at Dallas and while Bradshaw didn’t have a great game against Green Bay, you can expect him to get more carries now that he’s back in the saddle for the second week, post injury.



Santonio Holmes, Jets WR – With the running game a key component for the match up against Kansas City, I don’t see Holmes having too many catches. Yes, he has made some big plays in the final minutes of games, but with this match up focusing on the ground game, I don’t see him having a significant impact with fantasy points.


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