I started talking about the Navy football program last year, when Vegas put them at 22-point underdogs against Ohio State. Against one of the best defenses in the nation, Navy moved the ball against the Buckeyes better than most of Ohio State's ranked opponents. They never held the lead, but they were far from being out of the game until the final minutes of the game - far, far from the 22-point underdog status.
I thought this showing would finally make the media and other college football fans of the nation start paying attention to a quality program - a program with multiple consecutive winning seasons, a program that has handled its opponents in the bowl season. Looking at the AP Top 25 released today, I see that this still hasn't happened.
It bothered me a little bit that Navy wasn't ranked in the Top 25. No, I didn't expect them to be at 10-19, but it's not a stretch to put them at 20-25. Having the fourth best rushing offense in the nation, a quarterback who is a reasonable Heisman candidate, a good stretch of winning seasons and an offensive scheme that his disciplined and confusing to defenses, a case could be made for them to linger at the bottom of this year's Top 25.
What bothered me more, however, is to see that Notre Dame received more votes than Navy. Based on what? If you've been paying attention the last couple of years, Notre Dame has been a victim of the Midshipmen. Notre Dame had a worse record than the Navy. Notre Dame did not go to a bowl game. Why, oh why in the world, would anyone give the Irish more credit than this quality Navy program?
I hate to think these pre-season rankings are about popularity, but they definitely aren't about numbers. And talking about SOS isn't an argument for Notre Dame receiving more votes. One, Navy beat Notre Dame, so the Irish's SOS should make a better case for Navy to be ranked higher. Second, the Irish doesn't have a killer SOS themselves and faltered against every quality opponent they have faced. Somebody please tell me, what does Navy have to do to get some love this year? They don't have a tough schedule ... this I'll admit. But either do many of the teams - not just listed in the Top 25 - but also listed in the Top 10. I'm a big fan of Boise State, but they can be ranked in the Top 5 and get respect for playing Virginia Tech, but the Navy can't be ranked in the Top 25 for playing opponents like Pitt. And, obviously, 31 voters think Notre Dame is a quality program, so why rank them above Navy? If Navy goes 11-1 or 12-0 this year, which is a very real possibility, it's time for people to stand up and take notice. Also, Dobbs shouldn't be snubbed for the Heisman because his Midshipmen haven't made it into the in-crowd/social club of the media. Start giving this team some respect. They've earned it.