Football Follies 2021: NCAA week 15 – The Game

The 122nd Army-Navy game.

We hear these crazy reports that not everyone watches the Army-Navy game.  This seems inexplicable.  Communists.

The overwhelming majority of peoplekind knows that there will be a whole lotta runnin’ on Saturday, when Army and Navy go head-to-head in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.  We liked it better when they just played in Veteran Stadium in Philly every year, but we’re old fuddy-duddies.  We have to remind ourselves with an electronic zapper that Veteran Stadium doesn’t even exist anymore.

Anyway, the running.  Sometimes Army completes a pass, which is really cool.  Navy rarely does.  But Navy has managed to keep Tai Lavatai in the saddle as QB for weeks now, so that’s a problem tidied up a bit since the early season.

Army QB Christian Anderson is a runnin’ fool, as befits an option QB.  As noted, he can also throw from time to time.  Navy linebacker Diego Fagot is one of the bright lights of the season, twice named an all-American Athletic Conference linebacker and heading into the game with 85 tackles on his sheet, 11 for loss.  We are not responsible for these names.

Army is 8-3 and coming off a not only handsome but powerful season, the highlight of which so far was losing to Wake Forest in an insane 70-56 shootout.  You’d have thought it was two Big 12 teams marauding through Dodge City in that one.  The Black Knights beat Air Force, so if they win on Saturday they’ll tote home the Commander in Chief’s trophy.

Navy is treating zits and warts with a 3-and-8 behind them, and a much richer series of Learning Opportunities.  They weren’t quite as bad as their record; four of the eight losses were one-score losses from games they were in until the final whistle.  There was some nonsense early on with COVID compliance and the coaching staff, which didn’t help.  But mainly, Navy needs an offense.  Luck of the draw for the service schools.

It’s supposed to be raining and in the mid-60s on Saturday – not an advantage for the crowd in roofless MetLife Stadium.  We assume the ballplayers are ruggedized combat systems and will perform to a satisfactory level.

Army is favored by 6.5.

Sing second, Navy.

Game notes:

Army stole the wrong Bill the Goat in the annual prank attempt.

The Sooner Schooner, which races in circles pulled by ponies, is dynamic and boisterous.  Army prides itself on its mules pretty much just dressing up and standing there.

Navy stole all four Army mules in 1992, by dint of zip-tying Army employees.

The unis for 2021.

Spirit spots to get folks in the mood:


Bonus, really strange spirit spot.  More like a spirit Rorschach test.

U.S. Military Academy Corps of Cadets march on, 2020. Ken Kraetzer video, YouTube

Official, final-answer, no-kidding 2021-22 NCAA FBS Bowl Schedule

The Inner Circle games are highlighted in bold.  As usual, we’ll be previewing the bowls on a weekly basis, so set your watches for Toledo and Middle Tennessee to kick off the bowl action a week from today.

(All times Eastern Standard.)

Friday, Dec. 17

Bahamas Bowl:  Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo

Tailgreeter Cure Bowl:  Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina
6 PM

Saturday, Dec. 18 Boca Raton Bowl:  Western Kentucky vs. Appalachian State
11 AM

Cricket Celebration Bowl:  South Carolina State vs. Jackson State

PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl:  UTEP vs. Fresno State
2:15 PM

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl:  UAB vs. BYU
3:30 PM

LendingTree Bowl:  Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty
5:45 PM

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl pres. by Stifel:  Utah State vs. Oregon State
7:30 PM

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:  Louisiana (Lou-Laf) vs. Marshall
9:15 PM

Monday, Dec 20

Myrtle Beach Bowl Presented by TaxAct:  Old Dominion vs. Tulsa
2:30 PM

Tuesday, Dec. 21

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:  Kent State vs. Wyoming
3:30 PM

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl:  UTSA vs. San Diego State
7:30 PM

Wednesday, Dec. 22

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl:  Missouri vs. Army
8 PM

Thursday, Dec. 23

Frisco Football Classic (The bowl formerly known as “As Yet Unnamed Bowl in Texas”)
North Texas vs. Miami (Ohio)
3:30 PM

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl:  UCF vs. Florida
7 PM

Friday, Dec. 24

EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl:  Memphis vs. Hawai’i
8 PM

Saturday, Dec. 25

TaxAct Camellia Bowl:  Georgia State vs. Ball State
2:30 PM

Monday, Dec. 27

Quick Lane Bowl:  Western Michigan vs. Nevada
11 AM

Military Bowl presented by Peraton:  Boston College vs. East Carolina
2:30 PM

Tuesday, Dec. 28

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl:  Houston vs. Auburn

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl:  Air Force vs. Louisville
3:15 PM

AutoZone Liberty Bowl:  Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech
6:45 PM

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl:  UCLA vs. NC State
8 PM

Guaranteed Rate Bowl:  West Virginia vs. Minnesota
10:15 PM

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Wasabi Fenway Bowl:  SMU vs. Virginia
11 AM

New Era Pinstripe Bowl:  Maryland vs. Virginia Tech
2:15 PM

Cheez-It Bowl:  Clemson vs. Iowa State
5:45 PM

Valero Alamo Bowl:  Oregon vs. Oklahoma
9:15 PM

Thursday, Dec. 30

Duke’s Mayo Bowl:  North Carolina vs. South Carolina
11:30 AM

TransPerfect Music City Bowl:  Tennessee vs. Purdue
3 PM

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl:  Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh
7 PM

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl:  Wisconsin vs. Arizona State
10:30 PM

Friday, Dec. 31

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl:  Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
11 PM

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl:  Washington State vs. Miami
2 PM

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl:  Central Michigan vs. Boise State
2 PM

CFP Semifinal: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic:  No. 4 Cincinnati vs. No. 1 Alabama
3:30 PM

CFP Semifinal: Capital One Orange Bowl:  No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Michigan
7:30 PM

Saturday, Jan. 1

Outback Bowl:  Penn State vs. Arkansas

Vrbo Citrus Bowl:  Iowa vs. Kentucky
1 PM

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl:  Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State
1 PM

Rose Bowl Game Pres. by Capital One Venture X:  Ohio State vs. Utah
5 PM

Allstate Sugar Bowl:  Ole Miss vs. Baylor
8:45 PM

Tuesday, Jan. 4

TaxAct Texas Bowl:  LSU vs. Kansas State
9 PM

Monday, Jan. 10

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T
8 PM

Other ranks

In the FCS countdown, James Madison is up 21-6 on Montana as I type.  The rest of the quarter finals on Saturday feature Sam Houston vs. Montana State, North Dakota State and Eastern Tennessee State, and South Dakota State vs. Villanova.

In Div II, Shepherd (Shepherdstown, WV) edged out Kutztown last week to advance to the semis.  Shepherd will meet Ferris State (Big Rapids, MI) on Saturday, along with Valdosta State meeting the decidedly fishy Colorado School of Mines.

The Div III semifinals have some rousing action on tap for Saturday, with Mary Hardin-Baylor playing Wisconsin-Whitewater (should be a whale of a game) and Mount Union squaring off against North Central (IL).

Coaches corner

It was always likely that there’d be a lot of staff shakeups after the COVID Year of 2020 and the Recovery Year of 2021.  In addition to the HC replacements our Inner Circle has seen so far, Nevada has decided this week to swap out Jay Norvell with Ken Wilson, who’s coming in from his gig as co-defensive coordinator for Oregon.  An interesting choice; we certainly wish everyone well.

Craig Bohl and Jason Candle appear to be remaining at Wyoming and Toledo, respectively.  The service school HCs don’t appear to be making any sudden moves.

See further below for an update on McNeese State, our FCS team.

In Div II, Central Oklahoma and Nick Bobeck decided to part ways in November, but the new head coach was just named this week.  It will be Adam Dorrel, coming from Abilene Christian where he was head coach for five years.  Previously Dorrel was head coach at Northwest Missouri State, with three national titles to his credit.  We’re not sure if the Bronchos suddenly came up with some money or what.  But we wish them well too.

Shawn Lutz remains a fixture at Slippery Rock, and will start year 26 on the coaching staff and year six as HC for 2022.

The Div III teams haven’t posted updates since we noted that Merchant Marine’s long-time head coach, Mike Toop, retired at the end of this season.  A successor has not been announced yet.  Jeff Sokol looks secure in his job at Rose-Hulman after RHIT finished the season atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

As a final treat, a selection of Moments for the new head coaches at some of our Inner Circle schools.

Sonny Dykes arrives in tactical mode at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium.  Never seen so much whining and grousing as in the comments on this.  Just looks like fun to us.

Brent Pry working the ropes in Blacksburg.

And reminiscing.

Enthusiasm level mixed for Brian Kelly in Baton Rouge.

Well, news here, as opposed to another glimpse of Brian Kelly.  McNeese loses Frank Wilson.  The Cowboys are now looking for a new head coach.  No insight on that yet.

Sooners wild for Brent Venables.  (Remember, this is a homecoming for Venables, who was DC at OU for over a decade before going to Clemson in 2012.)


Feature image:  U.S. Naval Academy Brigade of Midshipmen march on, 2019. SAL Radio video, YouTube.

12 thoughts on “Football Follies 2021: NCAA week 15 – The Game”

    1. WOO HOO !!!!!! Daph will enter the front door without touching the floor. Congrats there Naval Officer type Person!

  1. Hey, and North Central knocked off Mount Union.

    Mary Hardin-Baylor cruised over Wisconsin-Whitewater.

    MHB and North Central to the Stagg Bowl. Nice.

  2. LSU’s Frank Wilson hire is huge. He is the recruiting maestro for within Louisiana. He also turned out some great running backs who played in the NFL.

    Oh man do I get to rub this into some Army vet friends.

    Looks like one of the Dakotas will be in the finals.

    1. Right? I had read that some time back about Frank Wilson, but figured you’d weigh in and let us know how true it is, as opposed to sportsbabbler hype.

      Monsieur Recruit-o should help LSU fill in some of those holes. Has the feel of things looking up. We’ll see if Brian Kelly can make something out of it.

      Yeah, South Dakota State surprised me, knocking off Villanova by quite so much. James Madison crunched up Montana badly. Their semifinal should be a pretty good one. SDSU seems to be rolling hot.

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