There is an air of mystery about Navy as we enter the 2018 season. The Mids are coming off their first non-winning season in the ACC – they finished 4-4 in conference and 7-6 overall – but they also wiped the floor with Virginia 49-7 in the Military Bowl. Installing Malcolm Perry at quarterback for the whole season brings a dynamic edge that the triple-option sorely needs, but can Navy get past a travel schedule that sees them travel over 26,000 miles to their eight non-home games.
9/1/18 @ Hawaii – Traveling to Hawaii to play is tough, but doing it to start the season does make it easier. The game time temps might be brutal, but Perry gets off to a great start to show how explosive this offense can really be. Navy 55, Hawaii 21.
9/8/18 Memphis – This is a brutal time to play the game that could decide the AAC West. Memphis may have lost quarterback Riley Ferguson to graduation, but the Tigers have the systems in place to play and play another passer. Navy rushed for 314 yards against Memphis last year, but the travel back from Hawaii here is a killer. Navy 28, Memphis 38.
9/15/18 Lehigh – This is the type of team that cannot cope with the Navy machine. Navy 49, Lehigh 7.
9/22/18 @ SMU – Sonny Dykes replaces Chad Morris in Dallas as the latter jumped to the SEC and Arkansas at the end of last season. A last second field goal lifted Navy over SMU in 2017 and the Mustangs lost stud WR Courtland Sutton to the NFL. Navy 38, SMU 21.
10/6/18 @ Air Force – The first battle of option offenses for the Mids in 2018 comes on a trip to Colorado Springs to face Air Force. The two teams are considered to be about the same level entering the season, but a healthy Perry gives the Mids the edge on the road. Navy 28, Air Force 24.
10/13/18 Temple – This might be a team to watch in 2018. Temple finished their season on a 4-1 run, beating FIU 28-3 in their bowl game. Quarterback Frank Nutile has the ability to cause Navy problems, while all-conference safety Delvon Randall will be controlling the defense. Navy 38, Temple 28.
10/20/18 Houston – The Navy triple-option will have to find a way to bypass Houston’s massive DT Ed Oliver, perhaps the best player in the entire nation regardless of position. This is another game that will factor into the AAC West title picture. Navy 38, Houston 34.
10/27/18 Notre Dame (in San Diego) – The Irish and the Mids clash in San Diego this year, a city where Navy will hold the home crowd advantage. The Mids offensive line – a unit that lost three starters – will get a severe test in the San Diego sun, with the Irish being stocked with blue chip talent on the defensive side of the ball. Perry will keep this close, but the Irish have too much size and talent over the 60 minutes. Navy 24, Notre Dame 31.
11/3/18 @ Cincinnati – The Bearcats are coming off of back to back losing seasons, but this is a young team that some see poised to be a breakout threat. Replacing leading tackler Jaylyin Minor – whose 125 tackles led the entire conference – will be massively important with the Mids triple-option coming to town. Navy 35, Cincinnati 17.
11/10/18 @ UCF – This is a hard game to figure out. UCF really was that good in 2017, but losing four players to the NFL and head coach Scott Frost to Nebraska is a big deal. Heisman candidate McKenzie Milton remains under center, but Navy only lost this game by 10 points a year ago and you figure that the Knights simply have to regress after last season. Navy 27, UCF 34.
11/17/18 Tulsa – The Mids first home game in a month sees them facing one of the worst teams in the league. Tulsa went from 10 wins in 2016 to two last seasons as the injury bug hit early and often. They won’t be that bad again, but this is a school that Navy should beat, especially with the ageless D’Angelo Brewer gone. Navy 45, Tulsa 28.
11/24/18 @ Tulane – This is going to be a sneaky good team in 2018. The Mids always struggle with Tulane, scoring just 21 points in 2016 and 23 points last season. The Navy defense has done enough to win those games, but Tulane has one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league in Jonathan Banks. This won’t be pretty. Navy 27, Tulane 24.
12/1/18 American Championship (site TBA) – Hopefully.
12/8/18 Army (in Philadelphia) – With any battle of two option heavy offenses at the end of a long season the health of key players is going to be important. Navy has lost two in a row to Army and the Mids know that a trend like that has to be stopped before it really gets rolling. Perry will be the difference, finishing an all-time great individual season with a flourish. Navy 35, Army 27.