Navy Season Win Total Prediction
Collectively, Houston towered over the American Athletic Conference competition in 2016. In terms of individual prowess, though, nobody rivaled Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.
Last November, the 21-year-old broke the FBS record for career rushing touchdowns. He went on to guide Ken Niumatalolo’s squad to a berth in the Military Bowl. And naturally, Reynolds capped his college career by delivering a 44-28 win over Pittsburgh.
Things promise to look much different this fall – and not solely because of Reynolds’ move to the NFL. Wide receiver Jamir Tillman is the lone returning starter on offense. Obviously, senior Tago Smith must display that he’s capable of regularly conducting the school’s patented triple option. Taking into account all variables, online sports book Bovada.lv projects the Midshipmen for seven victories.
In addition to becoming the sixth NCAA signal-caller to amass 4,000 yards each rushing and passing, Reynolds exhibited unparalleled leadership on a weekly basis. Smith’s task consists of making the transition as smooth as possible. Luckily, the Georgia native boasts several budding stars around him. Tillman comes off a junior campaign in which he hauled in 29 catches for 597 yards and five TDs. Meanwhile, slotback Dishan Romine just averaged 10.5 yards per tote in limited duty.
Given Navy’s unique style, however, perhaps no one assumes greater importance than fullback Shawn White. Chris Swain monopolized the carries last season, so White’s completely new to the role of featured runner. At the same time, the coaching staff loves the 255-pounder’s agility and athleticism. He’ll follow the blocking of left guard Adam West, right tackle Robert Lindsey and a host of fresh faces along the O-line.
On the other side of the ball, the Midshipmen certainly aren’t hurting for experience. Dale Pehrson brings back six standouts from a group that ranked 26th in scoring defense and 40th in total defense. Navy actually paced the country with 15 fumble recoveries, too.
Inside linebackers Micah Thomas and Daniel Gonzales, in particular, relish scooping up the loose pigskin. Up front, dependable nose guard Bernie Sarra and left end Will Anthony graduated, meaning Amos Mason and Patrick Forrestal have to develop into every-down contributors. Pehrson’s still trying to get a hold on his secondary following the dismissal of cornerback Brendon Clements in July.
If the Midshipmen slip up in their Oct. 1 clash against Air Force in Colorado Springs, the lamentations will be heard. After all, Reynolds went 7-1 overall in service academy contests. Yet we think the program’s strong enough to keep applying major pressure in the AAC race.
SUNDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL FREE PICK: NAVY MIDSHIPMEN OVER 7 WINS (EVEN)