Saturday, December 11, 2010

America's Greatest Rivalry

America's greatest rivalry is set to kick off in just under 12 hours. It doesn't feature flashy players who are award winners or All-Americans. It doesn't feature teams competing for a spot in a BCS Bowl. In simply involves two of our country's finest universities.

At 2:30pm ET on Saturday, the only Division I-A college football game of the weekend will kick off. It will feature two fine universities of our nation's service academies.

The Army Black Knights will face the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday for the 111th time since 1890. Navy leads the series 54-49-7, with the Midshipmen winning the previous 8 meetings, including last season's 17-3 victory. Navy is a 7.5 point favorite for Saturday's matchup.

This game has come to embody the spirit of the interservice rivalry of the United States Armed Forces. Members of each school have committed to serve their respective academy for 5 years upon graduation from each university. 

The game will be held in Philadelphia, which is roughly an equal distance from each school. At the current time, the game is always held on the second Saturday in December as the only Division I-A game, the only on that second Saturday. 

With a limited number of players from each team playing for a future in the NFL, the joy of this game is seeing the honest passion and emotion from each player, fighting for bragging rights. 

Following the game, no matter what the outcome, both service academies will play their alma mater. First, both teams will stand in unison and face the losing side, hearing their alma mater. Afterwards, the teams will stand in unison to face the fans of the victorious team. 

Because nearly every player on each side will ultimately pursue a career with their respective service academy, this game has a special place in the hearts of many. It does to me as well, seeing two teams pledging terms of service to the United States of America, and also playing football. 

This season, I have a particular sense of joy because each of these teams will get to play in a bowl game following this game. Navy will face San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Army will face Southern Methodist in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. 

As for tomorrow's game, here is our prediction:

Navy 23, Army 16