Military Bowl: Navy vs Pitt
*** The write up below was written before the Navy-Army game. While Navy had a down offensive game against Army that was to be expected somewhat. I don't think there's any reason to not expect a bounce back. ***
Navy was another team I liked down the stretch, covering 3 in a row until losing in their final game to Houston. Time after time HOU QB Ward escaped the pocket on 3rd Down to run for a first. Houston converted 16 of 19 3rd Downs that game -- it was a frustrating one to watch, lol. I put a smaller play in on Navy in this game already, but there are some reasons to be cautious. For one, Navy still has a game against Army to play, in which maintaining the health of QB Reynolds is paramount. Secondly, the PITT defense is pretty solid across the board. They defend the run well, though their absolute worst game of the season was against GT, who also runs the triple option. Third, PITT ended the regular season running the ball very well. After not matching the ypc average that their opponent usually allows in their first seven games, they exceeded it by an average of 1.2 ypc in their final four games. Pitt's passing game has been really consistent, if not spectacular. They had only one "best" game all season and only "worst" as well, in their final game loss against Miami. The unheralded half of Navy's team is their defense, which you don't hear much about, but they are pretty good, if at times inconsistent. I rank them 29th overall with 8 "best" and 5 "worst" games. In that final game against Houston Navy gave up 100 more total yards than they had all season -- sigh...as I said, QB Ward was just unbelievably slippery that game. If things play out mostly to season averages, with a bit of a boost to PITT for recent play even, Navy should still win by 10 points. PITT QB Peterman has a little mobility, but he's no Greg Ward Jr., I'll bet on that.
Recommended plays were Under 56 when the line opened, and Navy -3 yesterday, 1% each.