Welcome to a column here where I try to predict the outcome of each game featuring the FBS Academies this season. This is something I have been doing with schools in the SEC for a few years now and it is always a fun way to get ready for the upcoming football weekend!
Week Results: N/A
Closest Pick: N/A
Season Results: I went 55-22 (71.4%) with picks for SEC games last season. Let’s see if we can beat that looking at games featuring the Service Academies.
Army @ Georgia State – Army has a logjam at quarterback with neither junior Tyhier Taylor nor senior Christian Anderson gaining any separation in camp. Both will play and both will be effective in an Army offense that returns all the key contributors against a Georgia State defense that is bedding in new linebackers against basically the worst opponent possible. The Army defense will be terrific again – especially late – and the Black Knights will open 2021 with a win. Army 35, Georgia State 21.
Air Force vs. Lafayette – The Falcons should waste no time in finding new pieces to bed in to an offense that led the nation in rushing in 2020. The Leopards were stunningly good against the run in their FBS spring season – they only allowed 63 rushing yards per game in going 2-1 (tiny sample size) – but Air Force is a different beast of an offense. Don’t be fooled by the defense losing eight starters either, plenty of opt-outs return to bolster the ranks. Air Force cruises here. Air Force 52, Lafayette 10.
Navy vs. Marshall – Two teams with offenses that fell apart down the stretch in 2020 – Navy scored just 13 points total over its final three games (all losses) – open the season in a game that feels like one that both need to (and expect to) win. The Marshall defense was outstanding in 2020 as they allowed just 96 rushing yards per game and return most of what was the best defensive unit in Conference USA. Navy will need to control tempo and grind this one out as Grant Wells is an excellent quarterback with the players around him to do damage. I think the Mids offense will work better after a full offseason and like them to do just about enough here. Navy 28, Marshall 24.