Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks 2014 Army-Navy

BROOKLYN, New York (BBC)…It was a harmless photo-op. One LeBron James has done countless times. But a collective gasp was heard from across the Atlantic when, ahead of the Cavs’ game vs. the Nets, James put his arm around Kate Middleton, who was in town with her royal hubby, Prince William, and thereby violating some unwritten English-equivalent to the NFL’s old “halo” rule. Princess Kate appeared unfazed, while the prince tried to maintain his composure but was caught on microphone mumbling something about landing one of his search-and-rescue helicopters on the court in the midst of LeBron’s next pre-game shoot-around.  

Likely to create our own international incident, it’s…
Army-Navy “over” 57 (@Baltimore, MD): While our one concern for this selection is Army’s mere six-point production at home vs. an Air Force team that otherwise yielded an average of 26.8 ppg., the Cadets overall allowed more than 33 ppg (not including 49 to Yale), and the Midshipmen gave up an average of 31.5 ppg. We’ll pass on choosing a side, but here’s how it breaks down: Army looked good on paper with 16 returning starters and 59 lettermen. Scoring D improved from 35 to 31 ppg last year and the turnover margin went from minus-8 to 0 in 2013. Phil Steele made West Point his #10 Most-Improved Team, led by 1st year head coach Jeff Monken, who probably wishes he’d stayed at now 9-3 Sun Belt champion Joja’ Southern, where he coached for the previous four seasons. Not to say there wasn’t some improvement. Soldiers’ SU win totals were 3, 2 and 3 coming into this campaign. Army has put 5 games in the win-column thus far (but is assured of a losing season with 7 defeats already, including an OT loss at I-AA Yale). One of the wins came recently vs. I-AA Fordham, who at least made the second-round of the FCS playoffs. As usual, two of the top six rushing attacks will square-off, which of course, means the country’s two worst passing games meet as well. Navy shows an edge on defense, giving up just 17 rushing scores. Army’s version of the passing game is an average of 4 throws per contest. Neither side will put a lot of faith in their FG units (54.5% success rate for Amy, 58.3% for Navy). Both teams lost to Air Force (Navy by 9 at Ft. Collins, Army by 17 at home), who owns the Commander-in-Chief trophy. Swabbies qualified for the Poinsettia Bowl with six SU victories and went 5-5 ATS vs. FBS competition. Middies are 1-4 ATS in their five tries as double-digit chalk over the past three-plus seasons, with the only spread-dubya coming in last year’s 34-7 romp over…Army. Navy beat only I-AA VMI and Georgia Southern by more than 15 this season, both in the home-harbor. Long Fitty Shades of Grey Line gets spanked (Oh my!), but we’ll say…Boat People 38 Ground-Pounders 24

BTW, it coulda’ been worse. The NBA baller coulda’ dipped the princess fer a smooch, channeled his inner-Elvis or inner-Ash (for fans of “Army of Darkness”) and said, “Hail to the King, baby!” James was ultimately whistled for the contact and Kate subsequently air-balled a pair of shots from the charity-stripe, while LeBron went to the bench with four fouls and returned to action with just three minutes remaining in the royal visit!

Given the QB issues in Cleveland, LeBron will stay loose on the Browns sideline in case of injury to Johnny Manziel this Sunday, with lame-duck Brian Moyer gettin’ demoted to third-string!
Our Week 15 picks went 2-1, with nice covers by Weeziana Tech (+13 ½), who beat Marshall outright and cashed our only wager on the week, and Fresno State (+20 ½) over Boise State. The lone miss came by Houston (+6 ½) who lost by 7 at Cincinnati, robbing us of the hat-trick yet-again!   

Then-#18 Oklahoma lost to unranked rival Oklahoma State last weekend, 38-35 in the extra-frame. Two words…”Boomer Shroomer!”
If ya listen closely, Peyton Manning, in a certain currently-running car-insurance commercial, is actually humming “Vinnn-dy’s Picks are on your siiiiiiide.”

Next week….more LeBron, and some analysis and predictions for a few of the early bowl games!


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