American Athletic Conference Championship: Navy (9-2) vs. Temple (9-3) Game Preview
Check out the American Athletic Conference Championship: Navy vs. Temple fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3
Game Time: 12:00 pm
Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Bowl and Conference Implications
It’s complicated. No. 19 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, Navy is only two spots behind Western Michigan in the race for the New Year’s Six spot for the top Group of Five champion. If Navy beats Temple and Western Michigan loses to Ohio in the MAC title game, Navy should be ranked higher in the final CFP rankings. However, there’s still that Army game to deal with, meaning the Cotton Bowl decision might be put on hold. If Navy loses, it’ll go into the locked-in bowl tie with the Armed Forces Bowl.
If Temple wins and Western Michigan loses, even though it’s unranked, it could rise up and be that top Group of Five team going to the Cotton Bowl. Lose, and the Owls are thrown in to the buckets of AAC bowl options – with Birmingham Bowl and Boca Raton Bowl high on the list.
What Does Each Team Need To Do?
Can Temple stop the run?
The Owl defense has cranked its production up to a whole other level over the last month, allowing a total of 23 points in the last four games with road shutouts at UConn and Tulane.
While Navy runs its option attack at a whole other level than Tulane, the Owls showed they could handle the running game, keeping the Green Wave to just 118 yards. How good has the Temple front seven been? It’s allowed over 100 yards rushing twice over the last six games.
But it did allow 329 yards and four scores to Army in a loss to open the season.
The Navy offense was amazing last season with QB Keenan Reynolds leading the way, and now it’s even better – and hotter late in the season.
Unstoppable ever since it got bottled up in the loss to Air Force – held to just 57 yards – the Midshipmen had run for 300 yards or more in the last seven games, and over 400 or more in three of those including 480 yards and nine scores against East Carolina two weeks ago and 496 yards – and was over 500 before a late stop – with nine scores averaging over ten yards per pop against SMU.
So who’s going to prevail? The cliché fits – will it be the immovable object or the unstoppable force?
Temple has a terrific running game, too. It might not be Navy-good, but it’s cranked out 196 rushing yards or more in each of the last six games and eight of the last nine. However, the formula has to work. When the Owls don’t run well, they lose.
They’re 9-0 when running for 177 yards or more and 0-3 when running for fewer.
Navy has a terrific run defense, too. It might not be Temple-good, but it’s allowed fewer than 177 yards in every game but three – and won two of those.
What’s Going To Happen?
What Navy can’t do is stop anyone’s passing attack, and if Temple QB Phillip Walker’s banged up ankle is okay, he’ll be able to do just enough to complement his great ground game.
Meanwhile, Navy QB Will Worth – who’s on fire over the second half of the season – will be held in check just enough to give the Owls a break. Temple was able to slow down USF’s Quinton Flowers – keeping him to a relatively light 90 yards – and the linebackers are going to be just sharp enough, and just disciplined enough, to hold down Worth.
Temple has the nation’s No. 3 defense for a reason.
So relax, Cotton Bowl. It’s okay, College Football Playoff committee. The Owls will take care of a big headache for you.
American Athletic Conference Championship: Navy vs. Temple Prediction
Temple 30, Navy 26
Navy -3, o/u: 61
ATS Confidence: 5: Mitt Romney – 1: Rudy Guiliani … 3
Must See Rating: 5: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 1: CMA Country Christmas 2016 … 4